Stop Taxing My Period!
Debate over the tampon tax has leaked onto the lawns of Parliament House. Three weeks after Sydney university student, Subeta Vimalarajah, brought the issue into the spotlight with her Stop Taxing My Period! Campaign, protesters have gathered to lobby politicians to remove the Goods and Services Tax.
Subeta started the campaign when discovered that although condoms, sunscreen, and nicotine patches are considered ‘necessary health goods’ and are exempt from GST, tampons are not.
Last Monday night on ABC’S Q&A program, Joe Hockey vowed to consult with the states and territories about making womens’ sanitary goods GST-free, stating they were “essential products”. Subeta asked if he thought that the Government should scrap the tax to Mr Hockey during the show.
“It probably should, yes, the answer’s yes,” Mr Hockey told the audience
On Tuesday morning the Prime Minister told reporters, “It’s certainly not something that this Government has a plan to do,” claiming it should instead be a state issue, as they would be forfeiting the extra $30 million in revenue each year.
There has been a mixed response from the states. Queensland Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad, said her Government would “of course” support moves to remove the GST on sanitary pads and tampons.
“This is the first time you’ll hear me agree with Joe Hockey,” she said.
ACT Chief Minister, and Treasurer, Andrew Barr, claimed it makes more sense to tax digital downloads and overseas products brought online, in an attempt to make up the revenue if the removal of tax on sanitary products went through.
“You would more than make up for any lost revenue from removing the GST from sanitary products”
“I think common sense here says that this is a change that should be made now.”
However, WA Treasurer Mike Nahan said any changes to GST should be part of “broader GST reform”.
“Western Australia considers broader reform of the GST distribution process, a process that currently results in Western Australia receiving an unacceptably low share of the national GST pool, to be our main priority,” he said.
Subeta spoke in front of the media and her fellow protestors today, “Within a few days of starting the campaign, I had my first 10,000 signatures. The fight is not over yet. Tony Abbott backed away from Hockey’s comments at his first chance [but] it would be a disservice to those who have campaigned on this in the past to stop short of that legislative change.”
Today the Stop Taxing My Period! petition has 98,311 signatures and still counting.