A bill that would, if implemented, remove controversial Tampon Tax, successfully passed the Senate with no amendments a short while ago.
The bill – officially titled the Treasury Laws Amendment (Axe the Tampon Tax) – passed on voices with no physical vote taking place, despite the fact that the Government did voice its objections to the bill.
The proposal to axe the tax on tampons and feminine hygiene products was introduced by Greens senator Janet Rice, who is spearheading the push to remove the 10% GST currently levied on tampons, with today’s passage of the bill preceded by a Greens-lead protest against the tax outside Parliament House early this morning.
Some slightly more conservative male senators reportedly visibly squirmed while discussion of the bill was taking place inside the upper house, particularly when words like “menstruation” were mentioned. Rice was furious in her calls for the bill to be passed, asserting at one point that “if men bled every month, do you think the GST would be added to sanitary products?“
Rice’s bill – co-signed by some of the sentaorial crossbench riff-raff like Derryn Hinch, David Lleyonhjelm, and Stirling Griff – seeks to end the classification of tampons and related feminine hygiene products as “luxury” items, which they have been since 2000. Similar health products like condoms, lubrication, sunscreen, toothpaste, and even Viagra do not attract the 10% tax, conversely, as they are all classified as essential health products.
The Coalition Government – including Minister for Jobs Michaelia Cash and Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer – has routinely displayed a flippant attitude towards the bill, asserting it doesn’t matter if it passes Federal Government as the tax’s removal is a matter for the states.
To that end, all State Governments currently under Labor rule – which includes Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and the ACT – all stand in favour of removing the tax. Liberal State Governments – Tasmania, New South Wales, and South Australia – toe the Federal party’s line in opposing it.
The bill is not expected to pass the Lower House, with the majority-controlling Coalition likely to block its passage.