The atheism conference in Australia is going to be huge (note the logo in the left sidebar here), with attendance in the thousands, a swarm of speakers, etc. It’s fairly typical for regions to support that kind of influx of tourist dollars into their economies; they want to encourage more visitors. Strangely, though, while the conference leadership has applied for government support in this project, there has been no word yet.
Now you might be thinking that this sort of enterprise should be entirely self-supporting, which is true. But then again, consider similar sorts of events with a religious goal, like the Parliament of World Religions or Catholic Youth Day, to which the Australian government has cheerfully provided assistance. There seems to be something unfair going on here.
It seems to me that there are only two consistent positions to take here. Either there will be an equitable distribution of government support to all such conventions, or there will be no support for any of them. If there is to be no assistance to the Global Atheist Convention, then I should hope that the Australian government will also immediately withdraw all funds that would have gone to the religious conventions they’ve been propping up.