Labor rules out scrapping 'tampon tax'

Opposition Lead Bill Shorten has ruled out scrapping the tampon tax, despite his government previously describing it as an 'issue of fairness' the Coalition couldn’t ignore.

Tampon tax protesters (SBS/David Sharaz)

Tampon tax protesters Source: SBS

The taxing of women’s sanitary products is back on the political radar, after Opposition leader Bill Shorten flatly ruled out scrapping the tax at a Brisbane voter’s forum on Wednesday night.

Mr Shorten said Labor can’t afford to remove the 10 per cent tax on tampons when questioned at the forum coordinated by Sky News and the Courier Mail at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane.

“I’ve said that we can’t afford that and when you take the GST off a matter then that’s foregone revenue,” Mr Shorten said.

The Opposition leader had previously supported removing the 10 per cent tax on sanitary items.

“This has always been about fairness when it comes to the taxation of essential items,” Mr Shorten and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said in a statement in August 2015.

This morning, Mr Bowen told ABC radio that the States refused to use money from the so-called "Netflix tax" to pay for the removal of the tampon tax.

"Bill was just making that clear last night," Mr Bowen told the ABC.

"Labor has always been open to removing the GST from sanitary items," a spokesman for Mr Shorten told AAP in a statement.

Former Treasurer Joe Hockey was pressed on the issue last year and agreed to lobby states to ditch the tax, but the complicated issue was abandoned with Mr Hockey conceding it was an issue for the states.  

GST changes require agreement across the federation.

 - with AAP

2 min read
Published 9 June 2016 at 12:00pm
By Hannah Sinclair