Time to stop taxing the dignity of Australian women


Following the Labor Government announcement on Sunday 29th April that they will end “Australia’s unfair and discriminatory “tampon tax”, partnering with the states and territories to remove the GST on women’s sanitary products” Share the Dignity would like to call for your support in creating a bipartisan agreement to end this tax.

In the announcement Labor provided an option for how the lost GST could be recovered ensuring that states and territories do not have their current revenue stream reduced. We don’t believe we should comment on whether this option is viable or politically correct. What this option does is open up the conversation that there are other means of collecting the revenue that would be lost through the removal of the tax on sanitary products.

In Australia all feminine hygiene products are classed as ‘non-essential items’, in other words a luxury product. They are not included in the Federal government’s list of important health goods such as sunscreen, condoms, and nicotine patches. Yet these “non-essential items” require Therapeutic Goods Association approval, something which only applies to medical items!

Before GST was introduced in 2000, a proposal was made to exempt such products, but it was dismissed by then Prime Minister John Howard. At the time, Health Minister Michael Woolridge, likened feminine hygiene items to shaving cream, saying “Well, as a bloke, I’d like shaving cream exempt, but I’m not expecting it to be”.

Far from shaving cream, feminine hygiene products are essential health products, without which, those women who menstruate every month for an average of 30 years, would have no way of pursuing a normal public or private life and would be at risk of jeopardising their health.

“Justice Scalia once wrote ‘A tax on tampons is a tax on women’, but it goes further than that. By taxing feminine products, we as Australians are aiding to the violation of human dignity of those who we love the most. This is an issue for both women and men,” says Rochelle.

If we take this matter away from being an economic discussion, our question is do you think it is acceptable for women to be taxed on products that simply address a basic biological need every month?  We serve a community of women and girls who cannot afford to purchase these products with or without GST. We have thousands of sanitary products donated by the public each year in an attempt to provide a basic need to women and girls who are unable to provide these products for themselves.

What we believe, along with the 104,000 people who signed our petition in 30 days during March, is that it is incredible in 2018 that women are still having to raise a question that ultimately falls to that of equality, women are being taxed simply because of their biology.

So, we believe that we should all recognise that while an announcement in the budget to axe this tax has an economic impact, really it represents an incredible step forward for gender equality.

Labor have announced that should this issue not be dealt with before the next election it will be one of their commitments. At Share the Dignity we ask that gender equality does not become an election issue, and instead all governments come together to find the right solution to remove this tax.

You can help support Share the Dignity and its mission to keep this topic in the forefront of those in the power to change it.
Download your letter today and send it to your local member.

Channel 9 News - 29th April 2018