Tony Abbott shoots down Joe Hockey’s pledge to lobby the states on the ‘unfair tampon tax’

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey. Photo: Getty Images

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey said he will lobby state and territory governments to remove the GST on sanitary products.

However, prime minister Tony Abbott today quashed Hockey’s plan, saying “it’s certainly not something that this government has a plan to do.”

“We cannot change the GST without the states and territories. My preference is that the states and territories should make up their minds whether they want any changes to the GST,” he said.

During last night’s post-budget episode of Q&A, university student Subeta Vimalarajah asked the treasurer whether he thought sanitary products were essential items for women.

Hockey’s reply? “I think so, I think so.”

And when host Tony Jones questioned whether the GST should be taken off them, Hockey said “It probably should, yes.”

Here’s the clip.

Hockey went on to explain that when the GST was negotiated through the Senate by the Howard government, the now defunct Democrats in the Senate had a list of products to be excluded, but sanitary products were not mentioned.

The treasurer said that in order to abolish the tax on these items he would “need the agreement of the states”.

“Good on you for getting that petition together,” Hockey said.

“I’ll give you this undertaking. I’ll raise it with the states at the next meeting of the treasurer’s in July, I think. Is that okay?”

Earlier this month Vimalarajah organised an online campaign and petition requesting the government remove the GST on tampons and sanitary pads.

She secured more than 90,000 signatures and over 11,000 submissions to the government’s better tax review.