A bill from the Greens to axe the controversial tampon tax has passed through the upper house today. The change would see GST removed from products like pads and tampons. But while it’s good to witness affordable menstruation be a national news story, we should add that it’s unlikely the bill will make it through the lower house. There, the majority is held by the coalition who don’t support the change.
The tax has been a sore point since it was introduced in 2000, and the government has been under pressure to abolish it ever since. It’s widely seen as a sexist expense because it classifies menstrual products as luxury items.
Speaking to Parliament Greens senator Janet Rice said: "Australians have had enough — they want this unfair tax on sanitary products gone once and for all."
She was echoed by deputy leader Labor Tanya Plibersek, who told AAP: "It's time this arrogant and out-of-touch prime minister gave women a tax cut, instead of his mates at the big banks."
The only person to speak out against the change in the Senate was Queensland LNP senator Amanda Stoker. She called it a "nice political gesture" but pointed out that abolishing it would only save tampon consumers roughly $11 a year. While it would cost the government $30 million annually.
But as any enemy of the tampon tax can tell you, this has never purely been about the money. As Rice reflected, "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."
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.