It was the Q&A question that left Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey looking a little red faced…
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has agreed to lobby the states and territories to make sanitary products exempt from the Goods and Services Tax.
University student Subeta Vimalarajah started an online petition earlier this month asking the Government to stop taxing a “bodily function” and remove the tax on pads and tampons.
“On the other hand, condoms, lubricants, sunscreen and nicotine patches are all tax-free because they are classed as important health goods,” the petition says.
“But isn’t the reproductive health and hygiene of 10 million Australians important too?”
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) May 25, 2015
The campaign has attracted more than 90,000 signatures and during a special post-budget episode of Q&A, Ms Vimalarajah put her concerns directly to the Treasurer.
“Mr Hockey, do you think that sanitary products are an essential health good for half the population?” she asked.
“Do I think sanitary products are essential? I think so, I think so,” the Treasurer replied.
When he was pressed to say whether the GST charge on sanitary products should be removed, he went further.
“It probably should, yes, the answer’s yes,” Mr Hockey told the audience.
The Treasurer said when the GST was negotiated through the Senate by the Howard Government, sanitary products were not on the list of exemptions brokered by the Democrats.
Mr Hockey then committed to raise the issue with state treasurers, saying he would need their agreement to grant the exemption.
“Good on you for getting the petition together,” Mr Hockey said.
“I’ll give you this undertaking.
“I’ll raise it with the states at the next meeting of the treasurers in July.”
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said the matter deserved serious consideration.
“Why did it take till Mr Hockey was asked a question on live TV for him to acknowledge this was an issue?” he said.
“I understand the concerns with taxing sanitary products — concerns that go back to the introduction of the GST by the Coalition.
“These are in effect health products and aren’t simply a matter of choice for women.”
This post was originally published by ABC Online.
Do you have a news tip? Email us on [email protected]