Two years ago someone in Australia went public with the idea of exempting tampons – known in the trade as ‘feminine protection products’ I believe – from GST (Goods and Services Tax, the Australian equivalent of VAT).
This was presented as a gender equity issue, which was clearly nonsense. But politicians were fearful of opposing a noisy interest group which had potential support from half the electorate. So Joe Hockey, the then-Treasurer who had attracted howls of outrage for announcing the end of the Age of Entitlement, said that he’d consider it; and the Labour Party embraced it, saying that GST on tampons was ‘an anomaly’.
The photo below (by Alex Ellinghausen) shows demonstrators dressed as tampons dancing in front of Parliament House in Canberra.
Now Bill Shorten, Leader of the opposition Labour Party, has publicly and unambiguously rejected that policy. During an election campaign, with the polls the two major parties neck-and-neck, that shows a degree of courage and leadership and rationality that Australians have been longing for. Click here to see the clip of Bill Shorten (pictured below) giving this straight answer to a straight question.
Good on you, Bill!