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(Image via @ZoeBettisonMP.)

Noely Neate considers Treasurer Scott Morrison's removal of the "tax monkey" from the backs of craft beer producers, against the complete lack of tax action on tampons.

ANOTHER BUDGET is about to be handed down on Tuesday (8 May 2018) and, for the past few weeks, we have all been subjected to the inevitable drip feed of the wonderful things this Government has planned for us.

For mine, this is sounding like a pre-election budget, even though the Government assures us there will not be an election until next year.

The best announcement so far is, undoubtedly, "cheaper craft beer"! Craft beer connoisseurs rejoice; all praise Treasurer Scott Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann. The boutique breweries will now have a “level playing field”, a “common sense change” and a “victory for people power”.

Scott Morrison was all smiles as he announced:

"So, I'm taking the tax monkey off the brewer's back and the distiller's back all around the country because I want to see those businesses grow."

Watching Morrison and Cormann toast each other with their grins while they scull their special brews, looking like whatever the "mutton dressed as lamb" version of hipsters is, really got my goat.

Governments may carry on about all sorts of forces that result in the decisions they make but, in reality, it is all about choices. Now, I have nothing against the craft beer industry, most are small businesses – of which I’m a fan – and I know in my region they are an asset to the tourism industry. But watching this announcement, all I could think of was all the other more worthy "choices" this Government could have made to “level the playing field”. More funding for public schools, TAFE, homeless services, aged care, Newstart, Youth Allowance, the list goes on …

But what really got me was the “taking the tax monkey off the brewers back”, line. Like these poor buggers had been staggering under the weight of this tax burden for far too long and you could almost hear those 380 craft brewers across Australia responding with Hallelujah! Justice is served! 

Tax monkey? I’ll give you a tax monkey — what about the tax you have inflicted upon my vagina all these years since the GST was introduced?

The injustice of seeing our Treasurer carry on about fixing a tax for bloody craft beer when they will not even discuss righting the wrong that is the tax on women’s sanitary products — a product that is essential and should never have been subject to tax in the first place.

I know GST is a state issue and COAG would have to agree, it is not purely a budget issue, blah, blah. I know all this, but it does not stop my anger. It's the injustice of seeing our Treasurer carry on about fixing a tax for craft beer when they will not even discuss righting the wrong of a tax on women’s sanitary products  — an essential product that should never have had tax applied in the first place.

Did you know there is no GST on:

  • financial services — looking at you #BanksRC billions in scams;
  • serviced apartments – stay in a hotel, pay GST, stay in a serviced apartment and you don't fork out GST. That's a heap of GST for pretty much the same accommodation purpose the Government (and we taxpayers) are losing out on; and
  • even some education courses (private VET providers must love that).

This is just to name a few exemptions, which are all considered "essential" — yet we have a tax on tampons.

What does this say about our government and what they considered to be "essential"? Did no women back in 1999 pipe up to all the blokes in charge and say, I think you will find my period is not an optional extra, so how about not taxing it?

I’m no expert on that era when John Howard introduced the GST and I would like to think a few women in government – not the Coalition women, of course, as I’m sure it would have been unbecoming to raise something as low brow as "that time of the month" with the gentlemen – might have sounded an alarm? Obviously not much of an alarm, but if you do remember any women in government who did at the time, please let me know.

Since then, Australian women have forked out squillions in the #TamponTax.

It is good to see the Labor Party raising this issue as announced by Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek in March (although they have muttered about this being unfair in the past and nothing has come of it, so I don’t like to get my hopes up):

"Labor estimates that buying tampons costs women over $300 million each year and that $30 million of that is collected in GST."

At least it's more promising than Tony Abbott and his insulting “politically correct mistake” to remove the #TamponTax. Our Prime Minister has made no comment about it to my knowledge. Maybe no one in the Press Gallery asked him to respond to calls to remove the #TamponTax or maybe, Lucy hasn’t told him it matters yet. Who would know? I mean, it's only something that is a tax burden to over half the nation?

Oh, wait. No. No, it isn’t. It isn’t just a lady's tax.

Men, put your hand up if you have:

  • a wife/female partner and contribute to the family shopping bill;
  • daughters you financially support;
  • a girlfriend and had to do a rush midnight run for tampons you paid for;
  • a mother you have assisted with the supermarket bill; or
  • ever helped out a female friend/flatmate at the register.

If you are a guy and did just one of the above once in your life, you also paid the #TamponTax. This means, unless you are a bloke who was delivered by a stork and never had a female friend in your life, you have most likely contributed to this unfair #TamponTax. It is not just a female thing.

Blokes of Australia, you are paying the #TamponTax too!

Now that we all understand that, please, those with male genitals in this great nation of Australia, I ask you, as you raise your post budget (not likely to be cheaper at all) craft beers in mateship, pledge to level this playing field. Demand that this #TamponTax monkey be taken off your back! Or, maybe you can mutter that it is sort of unfair that you don't have to pay GST on condoms* but your partner forks out every month. I don't mind how you raise it, as long you do. 

Remember boys, you are paying this tax too!

*FUN FACT: Condoms are GST exempt as they are listed as health goods. Health! I dare you to think about the health and well-being of the nation's women if they did not use sanitary items.

Read more from Noely Neate on her blog YaThink?, or follow her on Twitter @YaThinkN.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

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