Aussie Greens seek to axe tampon tax

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 19, 2017

The GST Low Value Goods bill, which passed the Senate with a Labor amendment to delay commencement until mid-next year, would add the GST to any item bought online for less than $1,000.

The federal Senate has voted down a proposal to remove the GST from female sanitary products, a tax which does not apply to condoms or lubricant.

Greens senator Larissa Waters said that amount would more than offset the cost of removing the 10 per cent GST from pads and tampons, citing independent costings from the Parliamentary Budget Office showing the states and territories would still be $185 million ahead. While the GST now applies to those items, it does not apply to male products like condoms or lubricant, which has been the cause of a long-running campaign to remove the tax from female products - including a famous appearance on ABC program Q&A in 2015, when campaigners asked then-treasurer Joe Hockey to "stop taxing my period". "Periods are not a luxury, and sanitary items are not luxury items - they are necessities".

The Greens have revived the tampon tax debate, calling for the scrapping of the "sexist, discriminatory" tax on women's bodies.

The upper house is debating laws allowing GST to be collected on imported goods worth less than $1000 ($NZ1048.84) raising $300 million over three years.

The Greens Party, Nick Xenophon Team, Derryn Hinch, David Leyonhjelm and Lucy Gichuhi voted for it, while the government and the Labor opposition voted against.

"Considering how important the GST is for states and territories, and indeed the agreement that exists between the Commonwealth and states and territories around GST arrangements, that these discussions about how this should be done and when it should be done, needs to happen with all those parties", she said.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen told BuzzFeed News that Labor "strongly believes" in exempting tampons and other sanitary products from the GST - but this amendment was not the way to do it.

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