Culture

The Government Has Pledged To Get Rid Of The Tampon Tax (But We’ve Heard That Before)

Is this the time they finally follow through?

Treasurer Scott Morrison has pledged to take steps to scrap the controversial tampon tax, calling it an “anomaly” that never should have existed in the first place.

Speaking to News Corp, Morrison said the 10 percent GST on feminine hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary pads was “a source of frustration and angst” that needed to be remedied, and said he would raise the issue during his next meeting with the state treasurers later in the year.

“I think it’s an anomaly that has been built into the system for a long time and the states have decided to hold on to the money instead of getting rid of it,” he said.

The tampon tax has been controversial ever since the GST came into effect in 2001 — particularly given items like condoms and lubricant are exempt. But Morrison insisted that “there’s no great gender conspiracy here or any of that nonsense”.

“This is just a practical issue that needs to be resolved,” he said.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that we’ve heard all this from the Liberals before. Morrison’s predecessor Joe Hockey promised to abolish the tampon tax in 2015, but the party reneged after it was unable to secure unanimous support from the states.

The Greens put forward a Senate motion to ditch the tax in 2017, but it failed after the Liberals and Labor voted against it, with both parties again citing a lack of support from the states.

What gets taxed under the GST is technically up to the federal government, but it has long been convention that the states get a say. At the time of the 2017 Senate motion, only Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT supported axing the tampon tax.

Whether Morrison is able to convince the holdouts remains to be seen, although NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrotet appears to have come around on the issue.

“I think the public will overwhelmingly support this decision, I think it’s been on the agenda for many years,” he told the ABC.

Morrison’s announcement comes three months after Labor pledged to get rid of the tampon tax if elected… assuming they can get the support of the states.

“We think the GST on tampons and other sanitary items should never have been levied in the first place,” Labor Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek told the ABC back in April. “If there had been more women sitting around the Howard cabinet table back in the day perhaps it wouldn’t have been.”

“If you can find an exemption for condoms, lubricants, viagra, then I think you can find an exemption for tampons.”