A petition to end the 10 per cent GST on female sanitary products has gathered 40,000 signatures in less than a week, with the petition’s founder declaring the tax “fundamentally unfair”.
The GST introduced by John Howard in 2000 sees a levy applied to all goods and services except those deemed necessities like sunscreen, viagra, tea, lubricant and condoms.
‘Stop Taxing My Period’ petition founder Sydney university student Subeta Vimalarajah said women were not only paid less than their male counterparts, but were forced to pay more for basic essentials.
“For the 10 million Australians who menstruate, getting your period isn’t just inconvenient and annoying – it’s expensive!” she wrote.
“Half the population menstruates and they shouldn’t be financially penalised for it.
“If you still aren’t convinced, let’s consider some statistics: on average women, who make up the majority of people who use sanitary products, earn $262.50 per week less than their male counterparts, and they are also statistically at greater risk of living below the poverty line.”
“Furthermore, this tax disproportionately targets those who may already be disadvantaged, that is the homeless and unemployed.
“So why force this underpaid, at risk and disadvantaged portion of society to pay more for basic essentials?”
The tax on female hygiene products is estimated to net the government $25 million each year.
The petition has received overwhelming support since being started just last week, with one signatory writing: “I shouldn’t be taxed for being born a woman”.
In the UK, women pay a 5 per cent tax on tampons – down from a whopping 17.5 per cent, according to The Guardian.
The petition comes ahead of a government review into the Australian tax system, with Ms Vimalarajah calling on Mr Hockey to end the GST on sanitary items.
“Treasurer Hockey, the upcoming GST review is your chance to get serious about making life fairer for the 10 million Australians who get their period,” Ms Vimalarajah wrote.
Just one month ago, a similar campaign called “The Homeless Period” launched to highlight the plight of homeless women who are forced to use substitute sanitary products.
The campaign has called on the UK government to give homeless shelters an allowance to buy sanitary care.