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Forget the tea tax; now it’s tampons

Mar. 29, 2000

People can argue all day about luxury taxes on items like cigarettes and alchohol, but taxing tampons really pushes some buttons. Australian women are outraged over a 10 percent Goods and Services Tax Prime Minister John Howard plans to levy against almost everything Aussies buy, beginning July 1. Exceptions will be made for things like sunscreen, incontinence pads and condoms, but — sorry ladies — not for tampons or pads.

Women have argued that the tampon tax constitutes obvious discrimination, but the administration says it is perfectly justified. The Health Minister equated taxing tampons to taxing shaving cream for men. What, then, about those tax-free condoms? “Sex is a necessity and periods a luxury?” fumed one woman.

The BOSTON GLOBE reports that protests to the tax have been raging for months. In Perth, angry women threw tampons dipped in red dye at Howard and his aides. In Murwillumbah one protester morphed into Tanya Tampon by donning a homemade giant tampon costume. In Canberra, women took up the chant, “I bleed and I vote.” And in Sydney, the red-capped Menstrual Avengers marched on the headquarters of Howard’s Liberal Party and local media giants. So far, the men in power have not budged.

Read the BOSTON GLOBE story here.

HN