No excuses left on tampon tax - Op Ed, The Canberra Times

No excuses left on tampon tax

The Canberra Times, 7 May 2018

A tax on tampons and sanitary pads is a tax on women. But when our GST laws were written in 1999, they were mostly drafted by male public servants, reporting to a male-dominated cabinet, in an overwhelmingly male parliament.

As a result, tampons and pads were subject to a 10 percent GST. Yet incontinence pads, sunscreen and nicotine patches – even Viagra – are exempt from the tax.

In the nearly two decades since the GST has been in operation, this decision has come to seem stranger and stranger - and our state and territory leaders agree.

Scott Morrison’s go to excuse for his lack of action - blaming the states and territories - has all but dissolved with Labor leaders across the country backing in an axing of the tax.

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State and territory Labor leaders sign up to axe tampon tax - Media Release

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

TANYA PLIBERSEK, SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER

CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

STATE & TERRITORY LABOR LEADERS SIGN UP TO SCRAP “TAMPON TAX”


Labor leaders in every state and territory have signed up to Federal Labor’s plan to remove the GST on women’s sanitary products.

Less than a week after it was announced, the plan has received support from the Premiers of Victoria, Queensland and WA, the Chief Ministers of the ACT and the NT, and Labor leaders in NSW, SA and Tasmania. The leaders wrote to Bill Shorten in recent days.

For the first time there is agreement from leaders in every state and territory that this unfair tax on women has to go.

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SloMo misleading on tampon tax - Media Release

TANYA PLIBERSEK, SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

SLOMO MISLEADING ON TAMPON TAX, IT’S NOT A ‘SILLY ISSUE’

Scott Morrison was his normal charming and angry self today, refusing to engage on Labor’s proposal to scrap the GST on tampons.

Time’s up on this issue. It’s not only a tax on women, but it’s a tax that shouldn’t have been applied in the first place – there is no question that sanitary products are not a luxury item.

Australian women spend around $300 million on tampons and pads each year, including around $30 million in tax.

Mr Morrison pretending to hide behind Gladys Berejiklian on this issue is ridiculous.

The Abbott and Turnbull Governments have had a number of opportunities now to make the case to states and territories that additional GST revenue will be made available while removing the unfair tax on women’s sanitary products, but have failed each and every time.

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Liberals pay others to listen to the community and still don’t get the message - Media Release

LIBERALS PAY OTHERS TO LISTEN TO THE COMMUNITY – AND STILL DON’T GET THE MESSAGE

The Turnbull Government has been caught out wasting almost half a million dollars on focus groups less than a week out from the budget.

A report today detailed government tenders for two lots of market research totalling $446,850. That’s money which could be better used by schools and hospitals to provide the services Australians deserve.

Only Malcolm Turnbull would need a taxpayer funded focus group to tell him what’s fair and unfair.

They don’t need to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on market research when the message has been clear for a long time – voters want to see their tax dollars spent on Medicare, hospitals, schools and pensions, not multi-billion dollar handouts to the big end of town.

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Launch of Hugh Mackay, ‘Australia Reimagined’ - Transcript

LAUNCH OF HUGH MACKAY, ‘AUSTRALIA REIMAGINED’

AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, CANBERRA

TUESDAY, 1 MAY 2018

In 2004, with three co-authors, I wrote a book called Imagining Australia. It took four of us two years. By contrast, it took Hugh just a single year to write Australia Reimagined. That makes him at least eight times more productive than me. Between his non-fiction books and his novels, Hugh Mackay has now produced a total of 19 books.

However, Hugh Mackay warns on page 100 that our culture has become one of ‘endless praise’. So naturally, I should start with my criticisms!

Hugh writes about the challenge of smart phone addiction. I’ve glanced around the room this evening and I’ve seen a few of you on your smart phones. I’m worried that this evening has only worsened the smart phone addiction. He’s written about ‘nature deficit disorder’ and, indeed, not a blade of grass in the room. I fear nature deficit disorder has only gotten worse this evening. He’s written about the importance of politicians stepping down after either one term or two because people would have clearly made their substantial contribution within their first two terms. Yet here you are, being forced to listen to a politician in his third term! I apologise profusely for this. Hugh has said that he wants us to become a less anxious society. I don’t know about you, but I certainly felt at certain points this evening, I was feeling a little more anxious about Australia.

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Parramatta Reconnected forum a success - Media Release

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS

JULIE OWENS, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PARRAMATTA

PARRAMATTA RECONNECTED FORUM A SUCCESS

Today, we held a successful ‘Reconnected’ roundtable with Western Sydney charities and not-for-profits, exchanging ideas to boost social capital and community engagement.

While the Turnbull Government is working in Parliament to stifle the voice of our charities, we’re listening to charities to hear how we can ensure our communities have stronger bonds and louder voices.

Over the course of the last generation, we’ve seen some worrying trends. Australians are less likely to join community organisations or play organised sports. We’ve seen troubling drop-offs in volunteering rates and donation rates in recent years.

These are the trends Labor is trying to reverse as we hear from charities and organisations about what they’re doing to foster community spirit and build social capital at a local level.

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Mistakenly Seeking Solitude - OpEd, The Chronicle

Mistakenly Seeking Solitude

The Chronicle, 1 May 2018

On the count of three, Albert Hall suddenly echoed with a hundred new citizens saying together ‘Namaste’, ‘Ni Hau’, ‘Hola’, and ‘G’day’. Then we immediately laughed at the way we’d mispronounced each other’s greetings – particularly the Irish woman who’d just taught me to say ‘céad míle fáilte’ (‘a hundred thousand welcomes’).

Speaking at citizenship ceremonies is one of my favourite parts of being a federal member of parliament. To illustrate the point that each new citizen brings something valuable to Australia, I often ask them to take a single minute to teach a stranger how to say hello in their language or accent.

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Big company tax cuts reward the banks and offshore shareholders - OpEd, Sydney Morning Herald

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

Big company tax cuts reward the banks and offshore shareholders

The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 May 2018

Sometimes, what people say in private can be different from what they say in public. A report last month reported on a confidential survey of businesses, which asked them whether a corporate tax cut for the big end of town would improve their business prospects.

If you’d been listening to the Turnbull Government spin, you’d think that every company would favour a tax cut. But only half of the companies in the poll said that a tax cut would better secure their businesses prospects.

What would they do with a tax cut if they got one? Again, the Liberal spin would have you thinking more jobs and fatter pay packets. But managers said that a tax cut would be more likely to go to buying machines and paying down corporate debt. Only 7 percent of firms said that they would grow employment. Just 4 percent said they would increase wages.

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Labor leading the way with positive policies - Transcript, ABC National Wrap

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TELEVISION INTERVIEW

ABC NATIONAL WRAP

SUNDAY, 29 APRIL 2018

SUBJECTS: Tampon tax, Banking Royal Commission, Malcolm Turnbull’s $13 billion handout to big banks, the Turnbull Government’s Medicare backflip, immigration, Michael Sukkar’s ‘termite’ comments.

PATRICIA KARVELAS: Labor’s Shadow Assistant Treasurer Dr Andrew Leigh and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar join me now, Welcome to National Wrap.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Great to be with you, PK

MICHAEL SUKKAR: Thanks, Patricia.

KARVELAS: Under Labor’s proposal, Michael, that was announced today tampons and women’s sanitary products will no longer be taxed. Why doesn’t the government move in this direction as well, given these products are a necessity?

SUKKAR: Well, Patricia, under the intergovernmental agreement, it requires any change to the base or rate of the GST requires the consent of all of the states and territories including the Commonwealth and as recently as 2015 we took this to the Council of Financial Relations – essentially the Treasurers COAG – we put it forward in 2015, the states and territories couldn’t agree to it and since then none of the territories or states have raised it. The announcement from Labor today was meaningless without a signed piece of paper from every state and territory saying they supported this. Because without their support, it doesn’t change.

KARVELAS: So, Andrew, is that right? Do you have their support?

LEIGH: Patricia, there’s a simple reason Joe Hockey couldn’t get this done in 2015 and that’s because he couldn’t find an offset source of revenue. What we’ve done today – and it’s a real credit to Catherine King, Chris Bowen, Tanya Plibersek and Bill Shorten – is to identify natural therapies not supported by clinical evidence and under a bipartisan policy not supported by the private health insurance rebate and say we would put the GST onto those natural therapies and as a result provide the additional revenue. Indeed, over the decade we’re providing the states with more revenue from the natural therapies decision than from the tampon tax. But it’s the kind of positive policy you can expect to be coming out of a party that is now 48 per cent women.

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Workers worse off under Turnbull's tax hikes - Media Release

JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER


WORKERS MUCH WORSE OFF UNDER TOP END TURNBULL’S TAX HIKES

Tax on workers has grown 25 times more than tax on companies under the Liberals.

A new analysis of the Budget papers reveals that workers were hit with $38 billion in extra taxes in 2017 compared to 2013, while companies’ taxes have only gone up $1.5 billion over the same period.

Taxes on workers have grown eight times faster – at 5.5 per cent – than company taxes, which have only grown 0.7 per cent during that time.

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