The GST levy on tampons, which is absent from certain men's products (like Viagra), has long been a contentious point both in and outside parliament. But it's one that needs to be put to bed, according to Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek, who spoke at the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday.
Plibersek promised Labor would pay detailed attention to how the Budget impacts on women, and raised the tampon levy as a prime example.
“Take the tampon tax,” she said. “Australia levies the GST on tampons but we don’t apply it to Viagra. Only a bunch of blokes sitting around a table would think that that was a good decision.
“It was a dumb decision when we made it in 1999, and 20 years later, it’s still a dumb decision and we have to fix it."
Mere hours later, talking to Sydney radio station 2GB, Tony Abbott declared this decision would be "wrong."
"But this is typical of the contemporary Labor Party," said the former prime minister, who was once the minister for women. "There is not a bandwagon that they won't jump on if they think there's a vote in it."
Last year, the Greens tried to tackle the tampon tax issue via the proposed GST charge for online shopping purchases, but Labor rejected the proposal.