On Q&A last night, Joe Hockey admitted that there really shouldn’t be GST on essential sanitary items such as tampons and pads.
This admission was a massive triumph for student Subeta Vimalarajah, who was the creator of the petition ‘Stop Taxing My Period!’ This petition gained vast Australian coverage, and more than 90,000 signatures in less than a month.
Unfortunately, this dream has been somewhat deflated by a statement from Prime Minister Tony Abbott:
“I understand there’s long been a push to take the GST off goods, which are one way or another regarded as health products. It’s certainly not something that this government has a plan to do.”
Ms Vimalarajah flatly asked Hockey whether he thought sanitary items were essential, to which Hockey stuttered “I think so, I think so”. Then host Tony Jones chimed in, directly asking if he therefore thought those items (due to being essential), should be GST-free. The Treasurer’s answer was: “It probably should; yes, the answer’s yes.”
While this seems like quite a straightforward answer, and Abbott says that he “fully understands” why some might want the tax lifted, he does believe we might be interpreting Joe incorrectly: “I know everyone is always hunting for semiotic interpretations and so on.”
It doesn’t really seem like a case of semiotics (or semantics, for that matter). You can see for yourself via this Q&A footage; Hockey saying that the agreement of states is indeed necessary to make the change, and then promising Ms. Vimalarajah that he will bring it up at the next State Treasurer’s meeting in July:
There is still hope!
Image via Youtube