'Axe the Tampon Tax' issue rises again

Federal politicians are again under pressure to scrap the GST on tampons, with thousands of people signing an online petition calling for the 10 per cent levy to be dropped.

Perth student Sophie Liley launched the petition on change.org on Tuesday and within 36 hours had gained 15,000 signatures of support from men and women.

Labor had campaigned to have GST on tampons scrapped in 2000.

In September 2001 the Senate passed a bill exempting the products, breast pumps, funeral services, and caravan park and boarding house rents from GST - but the changes were vetoed in the House of Representatives.

The latest "Axe the Tampon Tax" petition says most women will end up being taxed $1000 over their lifetime for sanitary products and calls on Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to make scrapping GST on tampons a key 2013 election pledge.

"It's completely outrageous that women are forced to pay the GST on tampons because they're labelled as 'luxury' items - particularly when condoms, lubricants, incontinence pads and sunscreen are GST free," Ms Liley said.

"A government that charges women the GST as a direct consequence of their basic biology is a country that is fundamentally sexist.

"It sends the message that in this day and age, despite having our first female prime minister, we are okay with continued sexism in this country."

The issue has also gained support on social media sites, with plenty of people posting Twitter messages linked to the petition, with the hashtag #bloodyoutrage.

The issue also arose in 2009 after supermarket chain Coles reduced the price of female hygiene products by 10 per cent to offset the GST.

Coles said at the time it was removing the equivalent cost of the tax because tampons should be treated the same as basic food, education and medical services.

But the government refused to budge, with the then assistant treasurer Nick Sherry commenting: "The government has made a commitment to maintain the existing GST arrangements."

double standards

And all capital cities also have a women's hospital, I haven't located the men's hospitals yet they must be well concealed, I'm sure the duplicate services also come at a duplicate cost paid or by all taxpayers. Women's health issues do require additional health funding I don't see the issue, is there GST on toilet paper?

Of course sexism is alive and well, female quotas on boards is sexism there have been no online petitions about this outright breach of human rights where you cannot base someone's placement on their gender.


Tampons are luxury items

Tampons are luxury items in that, although they are far from the greatest sanitary product to use so not viewed as a 'luxury', they are a product people choose to use despite them not being a necessity. No one forces anyone to use tampons and there are other options...if cost is the issue use menstrual cups, free-bleeding or cloth pads (all of which are safer, greener, more convenient, comfortable, reliable, etc. too).

Tampons are the most expensive sanitary product available, a little tax on top is nothing if you're willing to spend extra money on an expensive 'luxury' item - You choose to use tampons instead of other options. Tampons also come at a huge cost to water authorities, the environment (deforestation and waste of wood for paper pulp, non-organic cotton, CO2 emissions and pollution from bleaching, and 12000 tampons in landfills, furnaces and blocking pipes or washing up on beaches), and to healthcare (TSS, side-effects from cumulative dioxin exposure, increased cramps and vaginal infections).

Surely it's only fair when an unnecessary product causes such damage it should be taxed.  FYI - I am a menstruating woman.


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