Over the past few weeks, the GST currently added to women’s sanitary products, tampons, and pads has been called into question – in what has been the biggest push to abolish the ‘tampon tax’ since GST was first introduced.
Today, a victory over the tampon tax overseas has come, with Canada being the first nation to scrap the tax following public pressure.
You bloody tell ’em, Canada.
On July 1 (coinciding with Canada’s national day), tampons, pads and menstrual cups will be placed on Canada’s nation-wide tax exclusion list. A Canadian New Democratic Party politician, Irene Mathyssen, praised the decision as a “victory”, and attributed the success to a grassroots movement launched by Canadian women: “The women who made this an issue, their voices have finally been heard,” Mathyssen said.
In the UK, items that make their tax exclusion list—while sanitary items don’t—include: jaffa cakes, bingo, exotic meats (ie. kangaroo, crocodile), flapjacks and herbal tea. In Australia, items such as sunscreen, condoms and incontinence pads make the exemption list, while women’s sanitary items do not.
Over the last few weeks, momentum has been gaining rapidly over abolishing the tampon tax in Australia. Sydney University student and activist who launched the now-infamous “Stop Taxing My Period” campaign, Subeta Vimalarajah, told Pedestrian a few weeks back, “I think the cause is just so reasonable. There doesn’t even need to be that much explaining for people to see why it’s unfair.”
This week, the movement to place pads and tampons on the GST exemption list celebrated their biggest victory yet, with Treasurer Joe Hockey being confronted on the issue during Monday night’s Q&A. Hockey agreed sanitary items should be GST free, and claimed a follow-up would occur during the next State treasurers’ meeting in July.
Such a swing wasn’t without its roundabout, however, with Tony Abbott claiming the following day, “It’s certainly not something this government plans to do” in regards to removing GST off some goods.
Abolishing the tampon tax may not be as simple as Canada’s landmark decision overnight, as unanimous State support for the bill must be obtained before going ahead in Australia. ABC Fact Check explains the process, and confirms that only 5 of 8 state/territory treasures are fully on-board with abolishing the tampon tax.
— ABC News (@abcnews) May 27, 2015