Westfield and Stockland shopping centres have blocked an Atheist Foundation of Australia ad campaign, which encourages Aussies to tick the ‘no religion’ box in next month’s national census.
The foundation’s president Kylie Sturgess said the campaign is not meant to be anti-religious, rather it aims to provide more accurate data to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
“What were are trying to do is to get everyone to respond with honesty,” she said, per News Corp reports.
Sturgess added that many people might have been religious in their childhood or through education, but had since neglected their faith.
“If you are someone who is religious and say you are a Catholic, then tick the Catholic box, go for it. Or if you are a Muslim, be proud of it,” she said.
“But if you are someone who is not religious, then you may want to consider the ‘no religion’ box and see if we can get an accurate demographic of what’s happening in this country.’’
The Atheist Foundation launched the “no religion” campaign on Tuesday, funded by the organisation, supporter groups and crowd-funding. But their ad posters won’t be displayed at shopping centres run by retail giants Westfield and Stockland.
A Stockland spokesman said the company did not permit any religious or political advertising within its shopping centres.
“We declined the request from the Atheist Foundation because the campaign relates to religious beliefs and public policy.’’ he said.
Sturgess said it was interesting the ads were banned on religious grounds, given the ads are specifically about no religion.
The national census will be held on Tuesday, August 9.