Senate debates

Monday, 19 June 2017


Treasury Laws Amendment (GST Low Value Goods) Bill 2017; Second Reading

10:01 am

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to continue my remarks on this bill, which the Greens see as a fantastic opportunity for the GST to be removed from tampons and sanitary pads. We have had statements from both sides of this chamber indicating that others too think this is a sexist tax whose time has come and that it should be removed. This is an opportunity for both sides of this chamber to support the removal of this sexist tax on women's biology.

When the GST laws were drafted—perhaps there were no women in the room—it was deemed that sanitary items were a luxury item for women. Guys, it is biology, it is no luxury, and this is something that should not have the GST applied to it. I spoke to that last week.

What I would like to do today is move a second reading amendment, which I understand has now been circulated in the chamber. Hopefully people have received that; if not, it will be coming very shortly. It is very brief and asks that the debate on this bill be suspended until such time as state and territory treasurers have time to consider the proposal to remove the tampon tax. Half the states and territories now support the removal of GST from tampons and sanitary items. The remaining states and territories last year did not support it, but with the revenue raised from this bill, which we understand will be going through the chamber with the support of both the old parties, the states would not fall short. They would be able to support removing the GST from tampons and not be out of pocket. This is a great opportunity for us finally to remove this discriminatory tax on women's biology. We have that opportunity today.

I want to acknowledge the broad support for this issue that we received over the weekend. We started a petition late last week, off the back of many, many years of campaigning on this issue. Over the weekend, 11,000 people signed a petition saying that we need to remove this sexist and discriminatory tax on women's biology—this tax on tampons and pads that was probably put on with a whole lot of men in the room, and, sadly, not enough women in the room, if any at all. We will be moving that second reading amendment, and I will do so shortly, to ask that this bill be delayed until such time as the states and territories can consider the good financial reasoning for removing this discriminatory tax. I want to thank the 11,600 people who signed the petition over the weekend supporting the removal of the GST on pads and tampons. I will flag that, whilst I do not have it with me at the minute, I will be tabling that petition later today. I am sure signatures will keep flooding in, but I want to thank those signatories who have done so. I move the following amendment, and I presume we will vote on it in due course:

Leave out all words after "that", insert:

" the debate on this bill be adjourned until State and Territory Treasurers have had an opportunity to consider the Australian Greens’ proposal to remove t he tampon tax."


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