Gladys, Stop Taxing Our Periods

Subeta Vimalarajah updates you on the anti-Period Tax campaign.

It has been three months since I started the “Stop Taxing My Period” petition. 101 000 or so signees later, I’m coming up to the final hurdle—the CFFR (Council of Federal Financial Relations) meeting. On the 19th August, Joe Hockey will meet with the state and territory treasurers from across Australia and discuss the fate of the “tampon tax” (as it has come to be known). This is the last leg of a campaign that has gained national and international traction.

Over the holidays, we started communicating with the state and territory treasury departments. The objective was to affirm the position of the treasurers on our side (thank you Victoria, ACT, Queensland, South Australia and NT) and lobby the dithering states (c’mon NSW, Tasmania and WA). Unsurprisingly, Tasmania and WA, although willing to have a conversation, would not come out in conclusive support before the meeting. New South Wales, sadly, but perhaps expectedly, were the only state unwilling to spare ten minutes of their day to discuss their position. This makes our state the most important one in the conversation—if Gladys Berejiklian refuses to scrap the tax, it will be up to the next band of campaigners to re-raise and resolve this issue.

To re-direct some attention to the issue, events are being held across the country on August 14th. They are being coordinated by an amazing group of young women from university campuses in each state and territory that have joined my campaign as “local representatives”. In New South Wales, I am coordinating the “Stop Taxing My Period Dance Rally”, which will be held at Martin Place—between Pitt and Castlereagh Street. It is less of a protest; more of a passive aggressive celebration for the treasurers that are supporting us, urging Gladys Berejiklian to be one of them. I am awaiting confirmation on who will be speaking and performing. We have Freudian Nip locked in, who will be starting off our period-themed (yes, shamelessly stolen from Ashton Kutcher in No Strings Attached) playlist, with a rendition of Tay Tay’s Bad Blood.

A lot of people tell me, and I honestly often tell myself, that this is not the sole issue we should be channeling our energy towards. I agree, and that is why my heart will always lie with the work of the Wom*n’s Collective in fighting the closure of vital services and spreading intersectional politics. That said, this is a national issue that has started an important conversation about gender. Big and small issues are not discrete, they are connected to a broader structure of power that we are trying to dismantle, and a GST free tampon will mean destroying one important fragment once and for all. So, please come! 14th of August, 2-3pm, Martin Place.

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