“PAGANdash is a method of utilising the census to assist us in finding out just how many pagans there are. Until we have a realistic idea of the size of our community, developing backup services for pagans will be impossible. Most of our community are solitaries and a large percentage, too large, have little or no contact with other pagans. These hidden ones are the most vulnerable and least supported part of paganism and linking them up can only begin if we know they are out there. The census information will assist us in deciding where to channel resources and support initiatives. At the moment we are blind.
I urge you all to speak again to your friends and any pagan you may know before the census next week. This is a chance to signal to our community and to the wider community that the growing pagan systems are continuing to grow.” – Rhys Owen, Pagan Community Projects 2006.
The PAGANdash campaign originated from the Pagan Community Projects in Queensland in 2005. The aim was to help government and community get a correct representation of the number of Pagans currently in Australia.
Why put down “Pagan-…” on your Census form?
When there are changes to legislation that impact upon Pagan practitioners, such as State and Federal knife laws, accurate census numbers give the Pagan community a bigger influence in the process. The campaign groups all the different pathways together under one ‘Pagan’ banner, creating a stronger voice to represent our needs to Government.
The purpose of the campaign
While Paganism and the associated Nature based religions are categorized as having been on the increase over the three census results since the option to specify your “Other” religion was allowed in 1996, we believe that this is not an increase in actual numbers of Pagans but more a show of the social acceptance of Paganism and the gradual removing of any stigmas associated with Pagan paths. We believe however that there are still more Pagans who are concerned about their safety and possible reprisal for writing Pagan on their census form. So the PAGANdash campaign encourages these pagans to write their pathway on the
census without fear of retribution or discrimination, instead of not answering the question at all and going down as one of Australia’s 3 million “No religion” respondents.
PAGANdash hopes to better group Pagan religions and this may help the ABS to reduce the number of Inadequate Description responses which is over 137,000 respondents. Pagan Community Project, and specifically MorganAkasha asked Pagan Awareness Network (PAN) to take over the running of the PAGANdash campaign after the 2006 census. In 2011, PAN dedicated much of its early focus to the PAGANdash campaign, providing the website and all free downloads from it for all Pagan groups across Australia. It also supplies flyers, posters and other PAGANdash campaign material at all of its sponsored or organised events prior to each census.