After a long and bloody battle (pun intended), Australian states and territories agreed to scrap the 10 per cent GST on tampons and pads today. At a meeting in Melbourne this morning, state and territory leaders backed Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s push to repeal the tax — known as the “tampon tax” — from January 1 next year. In light of the decision, here are five things you probably didn’t know about the infamous “tampon tax”.
It Wasn't Always An 'Essential Health Item' Like Viagra
While female sanitary products have been classified a “luxury” item and hit with a 10 per cent tax for the past 18 years, “essential health items” including condoms, razors, lubricants and Viagra remained tax exempt.
The Finer Details Are To Be Decided
Female sanitary products expected to be exempt from the GST include tampons, pads, menstrual cups, maternity pads and leak-proof underwear, but according to the ABC, this will be subject to public consultation. The news has also sparked discussion about other sexist taxes that should be GST-exempt, including breastfeeding aids and pumps.
It Will Cost Millions. But It's Worth It
States and territories will lose out on $30 million a year in tax revenue collected from female sanitary products. The Coalition government claims the tax shortfall will be easily covered as they are already receiving more GST revenue than forecast. Women’s bank accounts will be a lot happier for it also.
It's A Bipartisan Move
The decision to axe the tax is bipartisan. While the Greens have long pushed to scrap the tampon tax within parliament, both the Coalition and Labor recently changed their policies to also exempt sanitary products from the GST. The most recent move to take it to states and territories (which the GST falls with) was led by the Coalition. Following the announcement, Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer said she was “delighted” state and territory treasurers had agreed on “the right outcome”.
It's Responsible For A Lot Of Superhero Costumes
Ever since the GST was introduced by John Howard in 2000, women have been leading the charge against the tampon tax, expressing their outrage by donning superhero costumes with red painted underwear and dancing outside Parliament House in giant tampon costumes. Back in 2015, a Sydney University student started a petition called Stop Taxing My Period, which gathered over 100,000 signatures. With so much support from the Australian public, the decision to axe the tampon tax has been a long time coming.
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