MEDIA RELEASE: TIME FOR THE LIBERALS TO SCRAP THE TAMPON TAX

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BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN

CHRIS BOWEN MP
SHADOW TREASURER

THE HON CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE

TIME FOR THE LIBERALS TO SCRAP THE TAMPON TAX

If the Liberals actually care about a fairer tax system, they should vote with Labor and others in the Senate today to abolish the tampon tax.

 

It’s time this arrogant and out of touch Prime Minister gave women a tax cut, instead of his mates at the big banks.

 

The Liberals talk about doing more for women, but never do – today Malcolm Turnbull has a chance to change that.

 

Or does Mr Turnbull agree with Tony Abbott, who says scrapping the tampon tax is a “politically correct mistake”?

 

Or does he agree with his Liberal colleague Stuart Robert that it’s more important to abolish the GST on superyachts than on tampons and pads?

 

Malcolm Turnbull reckons the tax system is gender neutral, but tampons are taxed, while Viagra isn’t.

 

Back in April, Labor announced that we would end Australia’s unfair and discriminatory tampon tax by partnering with the states and territories to remove the GST on women’s sanitary products.

 

Scrapping the tampon tax will make sanitary products more affordable, and it will be an important step forward in gender equity.

 

The tampon tax 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 percent 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 are exempt from the tax.

 

The tax shouldn’t have been applied in the first place – there is no question that sanitary products 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.

 

Labor is offering a real solution and there is no reason for Malcolm Turnbull to refuse it – it’s a well-designed plan that’s fully funded. And there’s no reason for the Liberals to vote against scrapping the tampon tax in the Senate today.

 

Under Labor’s proposal, the loss of revenue to the states from the GST on sanitary items, would be offset by applying the GST consistently to 12 natural therapies that are sometimes GST free, such as herbalism and naturopathy.

 

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.

 

Ensuring the GST is applied to these therapies will also bring their GST treatment into line with bipartisan policy to remove the private health insurance rebate from them.

 

 

MONDAY 18 JUNE 2018