Women in Australia pay a 10 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) on tampons because they are defined as a luxury, not a necessity. Now, one student is doing something about it and demanding change.
Tampons and pads have been classified as a luxury, as opposed to other health products including sunscreen, incontinence pads, condoms and nicotine patches, which have been made exempt from the tax.
Once student Subeta Vimalarajah found out that she was paying more for her tampons and pads than she should be because of blatant sexism, she decided to take some serious action.
So she started a petition directly targeted at Joe Hockey, demanding that the tampon tax be removed in the upcoming review of the GST.
Her page informs potential petition signees that since 2000, the Australian Government has taxed every menstruating Australian 10 per cent every time they get their period. “It is estimated that our periods earn the government a whopping $25 million each year,” she writes.
“And how can a bodily function be taxed? Because the government doesn’t consider the tampons and pads we’re forced to buy every few weeks ‘necessary’ enough to be GST-free.”
Vimalarajah adds: “People who get periods don’t buy pads and tampons for pleasure, so why are we forced to fork out an extra 10 per cent every two, three, four weeks? Taxing Australians for getting their period isn’t just sexist, it’s fundamentally unfair!”
Vimalarajah is pleading with Joe Hockey to reconsider the classification of tampons and pads as part of the Australian government’s review of the tax system.
“Right now, the Australian government is reviewing the entire Australian tax system, saying that it’s looking to make taxes lower, simpler and fairer. This review is a once in a generation opportunity to put the tampon tax on the government agenda for serious consideration, and get this unfair tax removed once and for all.”
Already, the petition boasts over 35,000 signatures, and some of the comments on the petition have been both telling and hilarious, including “I bleed and I vote.” Another points out that “Periods are not a lifestyle choice.”
It should be noted that it’s not just women who are supporting this petition. “As a guy, I’m appalled by the expense of a basic requirement,” wrote one concerned gentleman.
The campaign is going viral, with the hashtag #bloodyoutrage trending on Twitter at the moment, as more and more people get behind this movement and call for change.
Vimalarajah ends the petition by asking for your help to send the government a very clear message.
“A period is not a luxury or societal burden, it is an aspect of reproductive health. After all, the government should support and facilitate the availability of sanitary products, not actively restrict it.”
If you want to sign and show your support, you can sign the Stop Taxing My Period petition.
Please note that by signing the petition, you will begin receiving campaign emails from CommunityRun and GetUp Australia. bmag is not affiliated with either of these organisations and does not endorse them; we simply believe this particular issue is worth highlighting.