An Australia Day billboard featuring Muslim girls celebrating is set to return after threats saw it removed
A CONTROVERSIAL Melbourne billboard depicting two Muslim girls celebrating Australia Day that was taken down due to threats from far right groups, is set to be resurrected in every capital city across the country.
Yesterday Victorian Multicultural Affairs Minister Robin Scott revealed the image would be removed after the company behind the advertisement, QMS, received threats.
But advertising guru Dee Madigan has struck back in launching a crowd funding appeal to have the billboard brought back and she has received a stunning response.
Within two hours today the GoFundMe appeal had raised $11,500, forcing Ms Madigan, who is Executive Creative Director with Campaign Edge and who was a regular panellist on ABC’s Gruen Transfer to revise her target of $20,000 upwards to $50,000.
She hopes to have the advertisement featured in newspapers, street posters and billboards around the country.
“People are just really against this, it just does not make sense,” Ms Madigan told News Corp.
“It is just a really nice photo of two young, pretty Australian girls celebrating Australia Day.”
“The response has been fantastic. We are already in talks with media buyers and hopefully we will have billboards in every capital city for Australia Day.”
The billboard sat beside a Melbourne freeway and advertised an official flag-raising ceremony in Docklands and an Australia Day Parade in the Kings Domain Gardens.
The decision to take the billboard down was celebrated by far-right groups on social media.
“I am not surprised people complained about it, but this was particularly stupid,” said Ms Madigan, whose life has been the subject of ABC TV’s One Plus One program.
“They complain Muslims don’t assimilate, then they complain about a photo and a billboard like this. It highlights the fact it is just plain racism. And it shows that Muslims are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
“We just want to see these two Australian girls put back up on a billboard about Australia Day.”
Ms Madigan said the widespread support for her campaign was illustrated by a $1500 donation by Sydney-based Tiyce Lawyers. The firm’s principal Michael Tiyce is president of the East Sydney Liberal branch, she added.
Ms Madigan said she hadn’t spoken to the girls in the picture, who have not been named.
“I’m not sure how they are but I imagine it is pretty awful when people think a photo of you is pretty awful,” she said.
Any money left over from the campaign will be donated to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.