Media release: Tampon tax axed
Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm has helped drag the Australian Parliament into the 21st century by successfully pushing for the removal of women’s essential sanitary products from the list of “luxury” items on the GST register.
“It is a disgrace that in 2018 we should even have to have this debate,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.
“Since being admitted into this Parliament four years ago I have consistently questioned and challenged the arbitrary nature of the application of the GST, and in no other area is it more subjective and discriminatory than in the supply of tampons and sanitary pads.
“It is an insult to millions of women across Australia that such essential items are deemed luxuries while other products such as Viagra, condoms and lubricants are considered essential health items and declared GST free.
“Legislation in the Australian Parliament in the past may have been made by blokes for blokes but those days have long gone.”
“It’s about time taxation policies caught up with contemporary public expectations and I will now be looking at other discriminatory GST applications.”
As recently as February this year Senator Leyonhjelm demanded Treasury respond to the farcical question asking if there were any health benefits to women accessing sanitary products and if the lack of access might be detrimental to women’s health.
In Senate Estimates he asked why, under Section 38.45 of the GST Act, former Labor Health Minister Nicola Roxon had the power to deem condoms, lubricants, sunscreen and nicotine patches GST exempt without the consent of the states and territories.
Yet the consistent response from government over the tampon tax was that it needed consent from all states and territories before the tax was lifted.
“As we saw today, the GST is established by federal law and can be readily amended by the federal parliament,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.
“If this Bill is passed by the House, women can look forward to cheaper essential products that are currently collectively costing them an unnecessary $30 million every year.
“The Liberal Democrats will continue to be the only party committed to fewer and lower taxes for all Australians, regardless of gender.”
Media: Kelly Burke 0408 734 586