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
"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."