MP calls for action on 'socially harmful cult'
LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has called for a judicial inquiry into Universal Medicine in a speech to State Parliament.
When UM founder and "esoteric healer" Serge Benhayon tried to sue blogger Esther Rockett, a NSW Supreme Court jury found he was "the leader of a socially harmful cult".
"I call for an inquiry not because it is a cult, but because it has infiltrated my community, some government departments, agencies and related programs, and non-government organisations, some educational institutions, some media outlets and some business organisations," she said.
"It is peddling its pernicious influence over the lives of people at their most vulnerable: children, the sick and the wounded."
Ms Saffin detailed Mr Benhayon's promotion of his beliefs that transgressions in past lives will see people "reincarnated as autistic or disabled", that he knows the root causes of cancer and is the reincarnation of Leonardo Da Vinci and Pythagoras.
She spoke of government employees and medical professionals among Mr Benhayon's followers being sent to UM-affiliated psychologists by their Employee Assistance Program.
She also highlighted vulnerable children under FACS care being referred to UM practices.
"The prevailing concern is the welfare of the people they are charged to care for, which is what they are legally obliged to do," she said.
"Professionals who are Universal Medicine socially harmful cult promoters in the workplace are not fit and proper professionals to be in charge of children, the sick, students and the vulnerable.
"Its harmful impacts must be brought to light, including its bogus and harmful pseudo health and healing practices. I speak out on behalf of my community seeking government action.
"We need an inquiry and we need it as soon as possible. I make the request and say, "Over to you, Attorney General and ministers."
Ms Rockett supported calls for an inquiry, but stressed Ms Saffin was in opposition and said it was "up to members of the public to put pressure on the government to carry out an inquiry".
"I urge all of those who recognise the necessity of an inquiry to write to the state's attorney general and premier and request that they initiate one," Ms Rockett said.