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Greens To Push Bill To Finally Scrap 'Sexist' Tampon Tax

'Australians want this fixed, once and for all.'

What you need to know
  • The Greens are confident of support for legislation to remove the 10 percent GST on sanitary products
  • Labor and crossbenchers Derryn Hinch, David Leyonhjelm Stirling Griff and Rex Patrick have indicated their support
  • The bill would need support from the government to pass through the House of Representatives

The Greens will move to push a bill through the Senate to axe the tampon tax when parliament resumes on Monday.

Janet Rice, Greens spokesperson for women, is confident legislation to remove the 10 percent GST on sanitary products will pass with support from Labor and crossbenchers Derryn Hinch, David Leyonhjelm, Stirling Griff and Rex Patrick.

“This sexist tax has been in place for too long,” Senator Rice said.

“Australians want this fixed, once and for all.”
Will this be the end of the 'archaic, sexist' tampon tax? Image: Getty

A wave of supporters are on the same day set to converge on the lawns of Parliament House with charity ‘Share the Dignity’ with more than 120,000 signatures in hand from those who want to see the tax scrapped.

“From the very beginning, there has been strong opposition from the public about the decision to apply GST to sanitary products,” charity founder Rochelle Courtenay said.

“For 17 years, people have been protesting around the country -- at Parliament House, at universities and in cities and towns around the country.”

There have been repeated calls from health groups and the community to place sanitary items among those essential health items -- such as toothpaste, lubricant, condoms and Viagra -- that are exempt from GST.

Labor has pledged to remove the tax should it win the next election, long arguing sanitary products are not a “luxury” health item.

It would make up for any revenue shortfall by introducing the GST to a group of alternative medicines recently excluded from private health insurance rebates.

Senator Janet Rice is confident the bill will pass through the Senate. Image: AAP

The Greens, too, have long called for the tax to go, with former senator Larissa Waters bringing an amendment to GST legislation before the senate in June last year. Both the government and opposition at the time voted against it.

Senator Rice introduced the bill to remove the tampon tax in May, defining sanitary products as “tampons, pads, liners, cups, spongers and other products used in connection with menstruation”.

But it will need support from the government to pass through the House of Representatives.

The government has maintained any changes to GST, negotiated by the Standing Council on Federal Financial Relations in 2001, would require state and territory support.

“There are only three states left that don’t support axing the tampon tax and all of them have Liberal governments,” Senator Rice said.

“The Prime Minister needs to show leadership, bring the remaining states into line and support the Greens bill to axe the tampon tax.”