Independent MP Andrew Wilkie accused Hillsong of using church funds for purchases that would “embarrass Kardashian” and “treating private jets like Ubers”.
Wilkie filed documents in federal parliament that he said showed examples of fraud, money laundering and tax evasion at the Sydney-based church.
Using parliamentary privilege, Mr Wilkie accused Hillsong Church of “criminality” by describing expensive travel and shopping.
He also said the Pentecostal church earned $80 million more in Australian annual revenue than it publicly reported.
Wilkie pointed the finger at the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Charities and Non-Profit Commission for failing to act after the documents were provided to them.
“That is a failure in regulatory oversight as alarming as Hillsong’s criminality,” he said.
The original church was established by Brian Houston and his wife Bobbie in 1983.
Wilkie said a whistleblower had provided him with financial records and church board documents.
He said that while members of the congregation thought the money was going into the “poor box,” church members were spending large amounts.
Wilkie said that in 2021, four members of the Houston family spent three days at a luxury retreat in Cancun, Mexico, using $150,000 of Church money.
“These documents show former leader Brian Houston treating private jets like Ubers, again all with church money,” he told parliament.
For example, in a three-month period, Brian Houston’s trips cost $55,000, $52,000, $30,000, $22,000 and $2,000,” he told Parliament.
“Meanwhile, Hillsong’s new director, Phil Dooley, has told parishioners that he only flies economy. But these documents show him booking $58,000 worth of business class flights for himself and his daughter to Guatemala, $42,000 worth of business class flights to Mexico and $32,000 worth of business class flights from Cape Town to Sydney via the USA
Wilkie listed a number of luxury purchases that he said would put reality TV stars to shame, the Kardashians.
“For example, a $6,500 Cartier watch for Bobbie Houston, $2,500 for Louis Vuitton luggage, a $2,500 watch for Phil Dooley, two watches worth $15,000 for Joel and Julia A’Bell, designer clothing purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue and even $16,000 for custom items. skateboards
“Hillsong fans believe that the money they put in the poor box goes to the poor, but these documents show how that money is being used to make the kind of purchases that would put a Kardashian to shame.”
Last year, founder Brian Houston pleaded not guilty to charges of concealing his father’s abuse of a child in 1970.