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Treasury Laws Amendment (Axe the Tampon Tax) Bill 2018

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2016-2017-2018

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

TREASURY LAWS AMENDMENT (AXE THE TAMPON TAX) BILL 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator Rice)



TREASURY LAWS AMENDMENT (AXE THE TAMPON TAX) BILL 2018

 

OUTLINE

 

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Axe the Tampon Tax) Bill 2018 will remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from sanitary products.

 

This Bill defines sanitary products as tampons, pads, liners, cups, sponges and other products used in connection with menstruation.

 

Since A new Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (the Act) was introduced, people who menstruate have been paying tax on sanitary products.

 

This Bill recognises that sanitary products are essential for approximately 50% of Australia’s population to maintain health and hygiene connected with menstruation, and that application of GST to these products is inconsistent with similar health-related products which are GST-free. 

 

The current legislation in which GST is applied to sanitary products is effectively a tax on the biology of people who menstruate.  As such, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Axe the Tampon Tax) Bill 2018 will exempt sanitary products from the GST.

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1: Short Title

Clause 1 is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Bill.

Clause 2: Commencement

The Bill's provisions are to commence on the day after it receives the Royal Assent

Clause 3: Schedules

Each Act specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as is set out in the applicable items in the Schedule.  Any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.



 

Schedule 1 — Amendments

Item 1 - At the end of Subdivision 38-B

Subdivision 38-B of the Act specifies health items and their treatment under the GST. Item 1 provides that a supply of sanitary products is GST-free.

Item 2 - Section 195-1

Item 2 adds a definition of sanitary products to the Dictionary in Section 195-1 of the Act, so that sanitary products are defined as tampons, pads, liners, cups, sponges and other products used in connection with menstruation.

 

Item 3 - Schedule 3 (item 18, column headed “Medical aids or Appliances”)

Item 3 removes the specific exclusion of ‘sanitary pads or tampons’ from definitions of products required for continence use, in Schedule 3 (item 18) which lists “Medical aids or appliances” that are stipulated as GST-free.

 

Item 4 - Application

Item 4 specifies that the application of the changes to GST on sanitary items would apply on or after the first 1 January, 1 April, 1 July or 1 October to occur after the commencement of this item. This item outlines timelines which allow for the required changes to be implemented by retailers and other stakeholders involved in the provision and sale of sanitary products.                                                                        



 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Treasury Laws Amendment (Axe the Tampon Tax) Bill 2018

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

Overview of the Bill

 

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Axe the Tampon Tax) Bill 2018 will remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from sanitary products.

 

This Bill defines sanitary products as tampons, pads, liners, cups, sponges and other products used in connection with menstruation.

 

Since A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 was introduced, people who menstruate have been paying tax on sanitary products. This Bill recognises that sanitary products are essential for approximately 50% of Australia’s population to maintain health and hygiene connected with the cycle of menstruation. 

 

The current legislation in which GST is applied to sanitary products is a tax on the biology of people who menstruate.  As such, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Axe the Tampon Tax) Bill 2018 will exempt sanitary products from the GST.

 

Human rights implications

This Bill seeks to remove barriers financial barriers to access of essential health items for people who menstruate, and therefore positively engages Article 2 and Article 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

This Bill does not engage any of the other applicable rights or freedoms.

 

Conclusion

This Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues. It also seeks to remove barriers to access of essential health items for people who menstruate and therefore contributes to the realisation of full gender equality.

 

Senator Janet Rice