BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
CHRIS BOWEN MP
THE HON CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
A Shorten Labor Government will end Australia’s unfair and discriminatory “tampon tax”, partnering with the states and territories to remove the GST on women’s sanitary products.
This is a tax on women.
Australian women spend around $300 million on sanitary products – tampons and pads – each year.
Currently, every single one of these products is hit with the 10 per cent GST – around $30 million a year in tax – because they are not considered necessities.
At the same time, products such as incontinence pads, sunscreen and nicotine patches – even Viagra – are exempt from the tax.
The tax shouldn’t have been applied in the first place – there is no question that sanitary products are aren’t a luxury item. They are necessary for reproductive health and hygiene.
That’s why Labor is leading the way to abolish this tax on sanitary items.
Malcolm Turnbull should announce plans in next month’s Budget to scrap the tampon tax. Labor is offering a solution and there is no reason for him to refuse it.
If Mr Turnbull fails to adopt Labor’s policy, a Shorten Labor Government will work with state and territory governments to scrap the tax urgently upon coming to office.
To offset the loss of revenue to the states from GST on sanitary items, GST will be applied consistently to 12 natural therapies that are sometimes GST free, such as herbalism and naturopathy.
Ensuring the GST is applied to these therapies will bring their GST treatment into line with bipartisan policy to remove the private health insurance rebate from them.
These natural therapies are not supported by clinical evidence, as the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer and the National Health and Medical Research Council found in a review in 2015.
At a time when government budgets are tight, the GST health exemption should only cover items with proven clinical effectiveness.
Scrapping the tampon tax will make sanitary products more affordable – but just as importantly, it will be an important step forward in gender equity.
SUNDAY, 29 April 2018