Politics

Happy New Year! The Tampon Tax Is Ending Tomorrow

Happy New Year vagina-havers!

Tampon tax

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Happy New Year vagina-havers! Australia’s tampon tax will officially be abolished as of January 1, giving womb owners a little relief to their wallet to start off 2019.

As of tomorrow, the Australian federal government will no longer charge GST on menstrual management items, including pads, panty liners, period underwear, tampons and menstrual cups. Period products have been subject to a 10 per cent tax since the GST was introduced in 2000, despite many arguing that they are necessities and should be exempt. It’s taken nearly 20 years of fighting to make these sanitary items GST free, so it feels good to finally drive the stake through the menstrual vampire’s heart.

It seemed particularly unjust that tampons were taxed due to the fact that condoms and lubricant fall under the GST’s health goods exemption. When this apparent discrepancy was put to then-health minister Michael Woolridge in 2000, he said, “Well, condoms prevent illness. I wasn’t aware that menstruation was an illness.”

Happily, times have changed and politicians’ understanding of what constitutes a health issue has evolved. In October state and territory treasurers unanimously agreed to the federal government’s proposal to remove the tampon tax. The bill was introduced by Greens Senator Janet Rice and passed the Senate in June.

The tampon tax costs menstruating Australians $30 million per year — $30 million that will hopefully now go back into their pockets, enabling them to spend it on things such as rent and avocados. Womentrans and non-binary people are often more economically vulnerable than cisgender men, so this boost to many of their finances is very welcome.

It’s a little after Christmas but, like many things, better this tax exemption arrive late than never.