Opposition spokesperson for health Catherine King said tampons were a necessity, not a luxury. Picture: iStock
Opposition spokesperson for health Catherine King said tampons were a necessity, not a luxury. Picture: iStock

Labor vows to scrap tampon tax

AUSTRALIA'S contentious "tampon tax" will be abolished under a Labor government.

Opposition spokesperson for health Catherine King confirmed the ALP would finally remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on tampons and sanitary pads if the party wins the next federal election, which is due to be held on or before May 18, 2019.

The party would raise the money caused by the shortfall by introducing a tax on alternative health treatments, which are now GST-free.

Labor has previously argued the GST should never have been applied to sanitary products in the first place, as they are a necessity for half the population, not a luxury.

Ms King said the new policy to replace the tampon tax with a tax on alternative medicines made sense.

The medicines were recently excluded from private health insurance rebates because they are not endorsed by the chief medical officer, the ABC has reported.

"They cost women over $300 million each year, $30 million is GST," Ms King told the ABC.

"What we have proposed is that the offset loss to the states on pads and tampons would be by applied to twelve natural therapies that are sometimes exempt to the GST such as herbalism and naturopathy.

"This actually gives you the money to be able to replace that."

Ms King also encouraged Treasurer Scott Morrison to adopt Labor's stance and announce a removal of the tampon tax in next month's budget.

She said if the Liberal party did not ban the tax, the ALP would lobby states and territories to follow its lead following a 2019 election win.

The tampon tax has been at the centre of debates in the country for many years, with former Treasurer Joe Hockey promising to scrap the tax during an episode of Q & A in 2015.

But the plan was almost immediately quashed by then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has argued against the abolition of the tax as recently as March this year.

"Look, once you start having these sorts of exemptions, where does it end? Where does it end?" Mr Abbott told radio station 2GB last month.

"We have to broaden the tax base, not start carving out politically correct exceptions."