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The Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc. and Atheist Alliance International are hosting a Global Atheist Convention in 2010. It’s going to be awesome, not just for the participants, but for the state of Victoria.

With possibly over 2,000 attendees, that’s a big chunk of tourism change coming into the region.

It makes sense, then, that the convention leaders would apply for $250,000 in funding from the Labor Government — not because of the religion aspect of it, but because this is good for Australia, and they give away money for this sort of thing.

How did that turn out?

President of AFA, David Nicholls, explains:

… it appears we “do not meet the criteria” for funding, (though we were recently led to believe that having reached ticket sales of 1000, funding was more or less assured). Indeed, we’re rather puzzled that the State Government held on to an application that didn’t meet its criteria for five months. It’s also puzzling that the Parliament of the World’s Religions, a similar gathering, in the same venue starting on December 3, involving a similar exchange of philosophical views qualifies for $4.5 million of government funds – more than 16 times the amount requested for the Global Atheist Convention.

$4,500,000 for a religious conference that could bring in about 5,000 attendees.

$0 for the atheists and their 2,000.

I didn’t know the Australian government was that bad at math. Someone should teach them about ratios and proportions.

I’d also like to know what criteria is not being met by the atheists. The articles I’ve read say the atheists didn’t meet it, without getting into any specifics.

(Thanks to Chrys for the link!)