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Australia gained 2 million people between 2016 and 2021 — and lost 26 Scientologists

Over the last few days, the results of Australia’s latest census have been rolling out, and naturally our readers have been very curious about one number in that mass of data: How many Scientologists are left in what was once one of the church’s mainstays around the world?

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard knew that his movement was most likely going to appeal to people in English-speaking countries, at least at first, and so he made Australia an early target. He had spent time in the country in the Second World War (with disastrous results) and he made visits in the 1950s to help cement Scientology’s early toehold there.

But in recent years, interest in Scientology has been waning. The number of Scientologists has dropped steadily in each recent census. In 2006, 2,507 Australians identified themselves as Scientologists, in 2011 it fell to 2,163, and then to an anemic 1,681 in 2016.

Meanwhile, the overall population of the continent is steadily growing. In the new census, Australia’s overall population grew from 23,401,892 in 2016 to 25,422,788 in 2021.


That’s a growth of 2,020,896 people.

But how many of the 25 million people in Australia were Scientologists?

We noticed that our readers were struggling with the online data releases put out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. We made an attempt to download the data and sift through it, but it was just too unwieldy.

So we wrote the ABS and asked them.

Last night, they helpfully sent us the answer.

Between 2016 and 2021, they told us, the number of Scientologists in Australia went from 1,681 to 1,655.

Over five years, the country gained 2 million in population, but lost 26 Scientologists.

The percentage of Australians who are Scientologists is 0.0065 percent.

And going down.

This is especially embarrassing because Scientology has been making major investments in Australia, including a new “Advanced Org” that was opened on September 4, 2016 in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood. They had paid $37 million for a former national acoustics lab that they then renovated for another $20 million. Journalist Ben Schneiders showed that tens of millions were being sent from the US church to Australia, and that the Australian organizations were somehow showing a net profit of about $65.4 million between 2013 and 2019.

But none of it has resulted in any growth at all.

Scientology is continuing to die a slow death in Australia, despite the gleaming new cathedrals and profligate spending.



Valerie Haney tells Scientology: I elect Elisabeth Moss to be my arbitrator

Earlier today Valerie Haney submitted a letter to Scientology’s “International Justice Chief” Mike Ellis as Judge Gail Killefer instructed, or she risked her lawsuit being dismissed.

But Valerie is not doing so quietly.

Her attorneys put out a press release today, not only attaching the letter, but revealing that Valerie had nominated Scientologist actress Elisabeth Moss to be her arbitrator.

Valerie filed her lawsuit in 2019, but it was derailed by a Scientology motion that argued she was obligated to take her case to Scientology’s “religious arbitration” because of contracts she had signed as an employee.

In Scientology’s jackleg arbitration scheme, both sides select an arbitrator, and then those two arbitrators select a third. All three must be Scientologists in good standing.

So Valerie has selected one of Scientology’s most visible members in good standing, Moss, and we’re very interested to see how the church reacts.


Technology cocktail

“All repeated and ‘incurable’ wrongnesses stem from the exercise of a last defense: ‘trying to be right.’ Therefore the compulsive wrongness can be cured no matter how mad it may seem or how thoroughly its rightness is insisted upon. Getting the offender to admit his or her wrongness is to court further degradation and even unconsciousness or the destruction of a being. Therefore the purpose of punishment is defeated and punishment has minimal workability. But by getting the offender off the compulsive repetition of the wrongness, one then cures it. But how? By rehabilitating the ability to be right! This has limitless application – in training, in social skills, in marriage, in law, in life. Example: A wife is always burning dinner. Despite scolding, threats of divorce, anything, the compulsion continues. One can wipe this wrongness out by getting her to explain what is right about her cooking. This may well evoke a raging tirade in some extreme cases, but if one flattens the question, that all dies away and she happily ceases to burn dinners. Carried to classic proportions but not entirely necessary to end the compulsion, a moment in the past will be recovered when she accidentally burned a dinner and could not face up to having done a wrong action. To be right she thereafter had to burn dinners.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1963


Now available: A bonus for our supporters


In order to thank our subscribers for their generosity, we finally decided to put together something that people have been asking us about for a long time: Yes, we recorded the first Underground Bunker podcast this week. It went out Saturday to our paid subscribers, and features the inimitable Marc Headley telling us some great stories about Scientology leader David Miscavige that we had never heard before. And now that Miscavige has made Clearwater his home, what’s that like for him and his minions? Marc has great examples from the past that suggest how things are currently going at Flag. Give it a listen!

And tomorrow: Episode two!


Source Code

“To date, I think I’ve lost something in the neighborhood of four or five hundred dollars treating patients by accidentally leaving change around while treating somebody I didn’t know was a kleptomaniac — it wasn’t part of the diagnosis. And I’ve had people halfway through to Clear all of a sudden put the money back in the drawer again. That was about the first time I learned about how, as people come up the line, their honesty level comes up too.” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 1, 1950


Avast, Ye Mateys

“PERSONAL HYGIENE: Until 3 July the 1600-1745 period may be devoted to personal hygiene.” — The Commodore, July 1, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Scientology is booby-trapped to the point where Scientologists are sometimes unable to confront and handle reverse Scientology in PT. False bridges are confronted and resolved as an integral component of life on earth and the dynamics beyond the 8th. That includes the two primary BTs plus the primary and secondary assumption of beingness for the current eternity. The person is neither and BTs are a lower level harmonic of relative states of beingness, encountered within this universe as BTs which reduce to functions of awareness.”



Past is Prologue

1998: Clearwater city council had a presentation from Scientology’s representatives concerning the new Super Power building, planned for the lot across the street from the Fort Harrison Hotel, and renovations to the Fort Harrison itself. From the council minutes: “Church representative Matthew Pearse, architect Nick Sakelariou, and in-house designer Sherri James presented the proposal. Referring to color elevation drawings and site configuration maps, they highlighted orientation, aesthetic design elements, and landscaping features of the new six story, 320,000 square foot building. Architectural design reflects the classical style of the Fort Harrison Hotel across the street. Pedestrian bridges in accordance with FDOT requirements link the new building with the Fort Harrison Hotel, and the future auditorium building across Franklin Street. Four, 7-story, towers accent the building s corners. A 150-foot tall tower element incorporated into the building is modeled after a traditional bell tower. Aluminum windows and doors will have blue/green tinted glass to conserve energy. The roof will have no exposed mechanical equipment, as a central chiller plant facility is to be located within the structure. Responding to questions, applicants indicated ground breaking date is not known. A large open area in the building’s center will contain a dome or low pitched pyramid, not visible from the street.”


Random Howdy

“People get distracted by the crazy convolutedness of the ‘Tech.’ At its core Scientology is simply a con game, a ‘long con.’ Hubbard just kept adding to his ‘Winchester Mystery House’ as he went along hoping the marks wouldn’t catch on. Unfortunately for D.M., Hubbard didn’t leave him much in the way of building materials.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next pretrial conference June 30. Trial scheduled for October 11.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Last hearing was on January 18, referred to grand jury. Additional charges also referred to grand jury after January 5 assault while in jail.

Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Readiness hearing scheduled for August 22 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for September 19.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Valerie’s motion for reconsideration denied on March 15. Arbitration letter due July 1.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place, next status hearing October 25.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for December 6.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society. Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in a weekly series. How many have you read?


[ONE year ago] Defeating the ‘Satan worshippers’: Scientology’s secret war on doctors
[TWO years ago] Who knew? Scientology Volunteer Ministers bring ‘spiritual’ aid to disasters & not just PR
[THREE years ago] Measles-free, Scientology’s cruise ship holds its annual ‘Maiden Voyage’ celebration
[FOUR years ago] Scientology celebrates 30 years of duping wealthy people on the high seas!
[FIVE years ago] HowdyCon: From “Squeeze My Cans,” Cathy Schenkelberg’s sexy Scientology sec-check!
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s ‘Ideal’ program really reaching at this point as it eyes a city without an org
[SEVEN years ago] Is David Miscavige really planning to extend Scientology’s ‘Bridge’?
[EIGHT years ago] Rathbun: ‘Scientology never endorsed anyone where there wasn’t a clear self-interest’
[NINE years ago] Jenna Miscavige Hill Reacts to the News of the Arrest of her Aunt, Denise Gentile
[TEN years ago] Radar Gets It Wrong: How Scientology Is Likely To Be an Issue in the Divorce of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology and the Nation of Islam: A Heartwarming Independence Weekend Parable


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,712 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,217 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,767 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,757 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,648 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,954 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,823 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,597 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,928 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,401 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,717 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,283 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,202 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,370 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,950 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,212 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,248 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,963 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,488 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 843 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,018 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,569 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,718 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,038 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,893 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,012 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,368 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,671 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,777 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,175 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,051 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,634 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,129 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,383 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,492 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 1, 2022 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, 15 years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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