Unless you’re currently experiencing the joys of pregnancy, or you’ve been living under a metaphorical media rock, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk about the Tampon Tax.
In recent weeks there’s been a lot of back and forth on the topic, many opposing views, and some confusion about just what it is and why people think it’s unfair.
The Tampon Tax is essentially the GST levied on women’s sanitary products like tampons, pads, panty liners and diva cups. This little 10% on top of the cost has been enforced by the Government since 2000, and women have had enough. Now that Australia’s entire tax system is under review, Australia’s menstruating masses (and their partners, families and friends) are standing up and saying something about this unfair tax.
Why Is It Unfair?
What’s the big deal? You’re thinking. I pay GST on lots of products. Why should sanitary items be exempt?
The thing with GST is that it isn’t levied on any necessary day-to-day items. So, you don’t pay GST on milk and bread, which are a necessary part of our diet, or on sunscreen, which is a necessary product for life in Australia.
So why are women paying a tax on their tampons? The government is arguing that sanitary aren’t a necessary item, they’re a health product and therefore a luxury item, so there’s no reason for them not to be taxed. At the same time around 10 million Australians are wondering just when they opted into having monthly periods, and funding the government to the tune of $25million every year through the tax.
There’s No Reason To Tax Tampons
With the exception of the money that the government is raking in from keeping GST on sanitary products (money, we could argue, that they shouldn’t really have), there’s really no good reason to keep the GST in place on these items.
This is especially true when you consider that women, the 10-million strong market for sanitary items, earn nearly $300/week less than their male co-workers and counterparts and are more at risk of living below the poverty line. Every 2 – 4 weeks, unless they’re on medication, are in menopause or have had a hysterectomy, women are going to have a period, and they will need to buy and use sanitary products. There is no tax-free alternative to tampons and pads, yet the government insists that this basic essential is nothing more than a luxury health item.
It’s A Double Standard
One of the biggest double standards for most people who are aware of the Tampon Tax campaign are some of the other items that the government is happy to give GST free. Condoms are on that list, as they absolutely should be, but so are lubricants and, wait for it, nicotine patches.
So, a quitting aid for an optional lifestyle choice isn’t a luxury item, but a basic hygiene product used by half of the population of Australia is?
Do you agree the Tampon Tax has to go?