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Exclusive sect wields sway over Howard government – Brown

Media Release
Bob Brown 22 Aug 2007

Wednesday 22 August 2007
The Exclusive Brethren sect holds undue sway over the Howard government, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.
"The sect's shadowy, multimillionaire leader for life, Bruce Hales, lives in Bennelong and has aided and abetted the Prime Minister's election campaigns. In return he has got exemption from unions having access to sect workplaces, millions of dollars for sect schools, and a blind eye from the Prime Minister on kooky but socially harmful sect policies:

  • family members cut off forever if they leave the sect – this includes children banned from contact with parents or other loved ones;
  • women unable to hold jobs where they are in charge of men or, after marriage, any job at all;
  • thousands of children banned from university education;
  • prohibition on TV, radio, computer games and public sports;
  • ban on eating or drinking with "worldies" (non sect members)."

"John Howard has for years kept his connections with Bruce Hales under a blanket. He should now open the sect's influence to independent scrutiny," Senator Brown said.
Senator Brown instigated the Electoral Commission and, so the Australian Federal Police, investigation into the sect's electoral activities in 2004.
Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603

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