Fed: Bernardi likens Greens to Nazis during Scientology debate

2010-03-11 12:48:46
Publication: AAP Australian General News

CANBERRA, March 11 AAP - A Liberal backbencher has likened the Australian Greens to Nazis during a Senate debate related to the Church of Scientology.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon unsuccessfully tried to have the tax-free status of religious and charitable groups in Australia referred to an upper house committee for inquiry.

Senator Xenophon says he's heard disturbing claims about the Church of Scientology and is unhappy it gets a tax break.

The debate on his motion turned nasty when Senator Cory Bernardi accused the Australian Greens of conducting religious witch-hunts.

"This (the Greens) is the organisation, remember, that wanted the members of the Exclusive Brethren Christian organisation to mark their businesses so people would know who they were," he said.

"The Star of David ... that the Greens wanted to impose."

The symbol was used by the Nazis during the Holocaust as a way of identifying Jews.

Greens leader Bob Brown jumped to his feet to interject.

"I object to that (remark) about the Star of David in the strongest terms and I ask him to withdraw," he said.

Senator Bernardi conditionally agreed.

"I will withdraw the inference that the Star of David was the symbol that the Greens wanted to put on every Exclusive Brethren business," he said.

"Make no mistake that the Greens wanted to ensure that people of a particular religious persuasion were going to be marked in their businesses."

AAP bsb/r/cdh