Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison is keen to remove the “source of frustration and angst” for women. Picture: Justin Lloyd.
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison is keen to remove the “source of frustration and angst” for women. Picture: Justin Lloyd.

ScoMo scraps sexist tampon tax, describing it as an anomaly

TREASURER Scott Morrison will remove the GST from tampons, saying it is time this "source of frustration and angst" for women ended.

Mr Morrison said the 10 per cent tax should never have been put on tampons and pads in the first place, describing it as an "anomaly", not a "gender-driven policy" when the GST was first applied to different items.

"I can see it is a source of frustration and angst. Here's a straightforward practical opportunity to deal with it once and for all," he said.

"I think it's an anomaly that has been built into the system for a long time and the states have decided to hold onto the money instead of getting rid of it."

Mr Morrison wrote to state treasurers in June to tell them he had put the removal of GST from feminine hygiene products on the agenda at their next meeting, called the Council of Federal Financial Relations, set for September or October.

According to the inter­governmental agreement on the GST, states and territories need to sign off on any items that have the tax added or ­removed.

The GST on sanitary products has long been a point of contention, with arguments that it is a "sexist tax on women's biology" that should not be applied to an essential product, especially given items such as razors have no GST.

Protesters push for the removal of the GST on women’s sanitary items. Picture: Kym Smith
Protesters push for the removal of the GST on women’s sanitary items. Picture: Kym Smith

But conservative leaders have rejected moves to lift the GST from tampons, with some saying it would be a "politically correct" mistake, while state treasurers have refused to give up the $30 million a year revenue nationally generated from the tax on female hygiene products.

Mr Morrison said this was a "practical" issue, not an ideological one.

Colourful protests were held as the bill went before the Senate. Picture: Kym Smith
Colourful protests were held as the bill went before the Senate. Picture: Kym Smith

"For the ideological warriors, they can leave their manifestos at the door and deal with it practically," he said.

"I'm happy to see this remedied and it shouldn't be consuming an enormous amount of time, it's a fairly straightforward decision to make."

News Corp Australia understands the Treasurer has been speaking with Financial Services and Revenue Minister Kelly O'Dwyer about the issue since she took over the Women's portfolio from Michaelia Cash in December.

Greens Senator Janet Rice and Lee Rhiannon (right side in front) joined the jubilant scenes before the bill was voted on. Picture Kym Smith
Greens Senator Janet Rice and Lee Rhiannon (right side in front) joined the jubilant scenes before the bill was voted on. Picture Kym Smith

"Millions of Australian women will be happy to see this tax on sanitary products gone," Ms O'Dwyer said.

Then-treasurer Peter Costello facing a tampon tax question back in 2000.
Then-treasurer Peter Costello facing a tampon tax question back in 2000.

"The states and territories now need to demonstrate some leadership on this issue."

Former treasurer Joe Hockey tried to lift the GST from tampons in 2015, but the state and territories refused to lose the $30 million a year women pay in taxes on the products.

Mr Morrison said if the states want to replace the tampon tax with a GST on something else, he will insist that is dealt with separately.



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