House of Representatives still unlikely to remove the tax.
House of Representatives still unlikely to remove the tax.

A step closer to scrapping tampon tax

THE 'tampon tax' talk is back, however nothing has changed - not until the Coalition vote to have it scrapped.

Today the Senate showed its support by voting to have the Greens' bill passed, meaning women won't have to pay the 10 per cent GST.

But the push to have it fully abolished continues to stall as the Coalition Government does not support the change.

The GST on tampons and pads has been a hot political issue since the consumption tax was introduced in 2000.

Since 2004, Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm said he's "consistently questioned and challenged the arbitrary nature of the application of the GST and in no other area is it more subjective and discriminatory than in the supply of tampons and sanitary pads".

"It is a disgrace that in 2018 we should even have to have this debate," Senator Leyonhjelm said.

 

House of Representatives still unlikely to remove the tax.
House of Representatives still unlikely to remove the tax.

 

So far, despite the Senate supporting the Greens bill to scrap the tampon tax, the vote does not appear to be enough to stop women paying the extra 10 per cent.

As recently as February this year Senator Leyonhjelm demanded Treasury respond to the farcical question asking if there were any health benefits to women accessing sanitary products and if the lack of access might be detrimental to women's health.

In Senate Estimates he asked why, under Section 38.45 of the GST Act, former Labor Health Minister Nicola Roxon had the power to deem condoms, lubricants, sunscreen and nicotine patches GST exempt without the consent of the states and territories.

Greens Senator Janet Rice told the Senate today that sanitary products were essential products that should not be taxed.

"It is frankly ridiculous that while items like sunscreen, folic acid, toothpaste, lubricants, condoms and even Viagra are exempt from GST, sanitary products are not," Senator Rice said.

Queensland LNP senator Amanda Stoker was the only person to speak against the bill, the ABC reported.

 

In 2000 a group calling itself the “menstrual avengers” dressed up in costumes to argue against the tax. Picture Kym Smith
In 2000 a group calling itself the “menstrual avengers” dressed up in costumes to argue against the tax. Picture Kym Smith

 

She called it a "nice political gesture" but said it was not the biggest issue facing Australian women.

"What's not front of mind for women in this country is the approximately $11 a year they pay in GST on tampons," Senator Stoker said.

Labor has promised to remove the GST and pay for it with a new tax on some alternative therapies

The Federal Government argues it can only change the GST if state and territory governments agree.

But Senator Leyonhjelm argued the GST was created under federal law and could be "readily amended by federal Parliament".

He said if the bill was passed, women can look forward to cheaper essential products that are collectively costing them an unnecessary $30 million every year.

"Legislation in the Australian Parliament in the past may have been made by blokes for blokes, but those days have long gone," Senator Leyonhjelm said.



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