Time to stop taxing the dignity of Australian women

One week, 12 months, 30 years, 12.2 million women. The time is up, don’t let your mum, daughter, sister, grandmother, or best friend continue to be a number where their human dignity is treated as a luxury.

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.

A federal petition was lodged on 1st March which requires 100,000 signatures by 30th March to be applicable to be heard. Should the petition succeed this would mean, after years of society treating this normal bodily function with shame, feminine products would be confirmed as a very basic necessity in Australia and therefore GST free.

Rochelle Courtenay, Founder of Share The Dignity, and author of the petition, is calling out for all women AND MEN, to sign by March 8th, International Women’s Day, to make this change.

“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 Ms Courtenay.

With federal members believing this is ‘not an important issue’ Australians are implored to sign and share, to make 2018 a year where dignity is restored.