Treasurer Scott Morrison has bowed to the agitation of vocal feminists and the likes of GetUp! and is dropping GST from women’s sanitary products.
Talking to the Daily Telegraph this weekend, Morrison described a tampon tax as an ‘anomaly’ and blamed the states’ addiction to $30 million of revenue a year it raises as the reason it hasn’t been done before.
But if he thinks he will be lauded for his newfound soft and fuzzy gender awareness by the vociferous and powerful feminist lobby and its media shock troops like Fairfax columnist Clementine Ford, he should think again. As with Malcolm Turnbull’s determination to foist a National Energy Guarantee on us that panders to the Left’s obsession with emissions ahead of the kitchen-table concerns of ordinary Australians about power prices, scrapping the tampon tax is the Turnbull government yet again appeasing an outspoken constituency, noisy feminists, who will never vote for the Coalition in a pink fit.
This will not gain the Coalition a single vote. It is hollow gesture politics. The feminist lobby simply will say ‘it’s about time’ and keep putting its stiletto heels into the Coalition’s groin.
And to keep the states happy Morrison will have to find the $30 million a year from other Commonwealth tax or borrowing revenue. It’s a bloody untidy mess.
All this stunt does is highlight the Coalition’s missed opportunities to undertake a systematic review of Australia’s tax system and what it pays for – rather than a cut to personal tax here, a tweak to company tax there – that has characterised the Micawber-like approaches of both the Abbott and Turnbull governments. If and when the Coalition goes down to ignominious electoral defeat next year, its failure from day one to have a coherent and coordinated economic policy vision and plan will be a main cause of its downfall.
And the humble tampon will be a symbol of this failure.
If Morrison truly was serious about fixing GST reform ‘anomalies’, instead of removing the GST from tampons and sanitary pads he would be bringing so-called men’s products such as razors into the GST net. The broader-based the GST is, the less these sorts of penny-ante fiddles matter, and the broader the indirect tax base the greater the potential for genuine personal and company tax relief.
And if the Treasurer had done his own research, he would damn well understand that the feminist lobby’s whining about tampons being taxed differently to razors doesn’t wash. As any man who’s shared a bathroom cabinet with a woman knows, women appropriate men’s razors to shave their legs, armpits and intimate parts, little caring their coarse body hair blunts the blades and causes their man to look like Norman Gunston the next time has a shave.
I’d like to see this pernicious threat to the social fabric being earnestly discussed by a typically ‘woke’ panel on ABC’s The Drum. But that’s just as likely as Morrison getting feminists’ credit for his tampon tax gesture politics.
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