The Global Atheist Convention 2010 in Melbourne, Australia is expected
to be the largest gathering of atheists, rationalists, humanists,
sceptics, free thinkers and other like-minded people in Australian
The Atheist Foundation of Australia is running the Convention and
applied for government funding months ago – but has not yet received a
response. This delay seems excessive and the government appears to be
trying to dodge the issue of supporting non-believers, perhaps worried
about upsetting the religious organisations they have a mutually
beneficial relationship with. In Australia exemptions or concessions
apply to religious organisations in relation to income tax, fringe
benefits tax, GST, payroll tax, land tax, stamp duties, car registration
fees and municipal rates. And let’s not forget the recent Victorian
government decision to exempt religious organisations from a range of
anti-discrimination laws…another example of one rule for the religious,
another for everyone else. This is blatant discrimination.
To run an event the size of the Global Atheist Convention must cost a
lot of money, even though all the speakers have generously donated their
time, and the Convention is relying on ticket sales for funding.
Consider the millions of government dollars that will help fund the
Parliament of World Religions and the $120m the World Youth Day cost
Australian tax payers (and let’s not even start on the civil liberty
restrictions associated with World Youth Day…) - it’s time the atheists
received some of the same support.
It’s time our “representatives” actually represented us and supported
the Global Atheist Convention.
We are Australian atheists and it’s time the government heard us.
Please help us by spreading the word - raise this issue on blogs, in
conversation and anywhere else the politicians might hear you.