Did you know that apparently it’s a luxury to have your period? Well according to the Government it is. While things like condoms, lubricant, and sunscreen are all GST free, sanitary products get slapped with the GST because the Government labels them as ‘luxury’ items. For real.
So in February this year, Sophie Liley, a 19 year-old student from Perth, decided she would start a pun-tastic petition called Axe the Tampon Tax. It now has over 43,000 signatures and needs just 6,582 more. With the support of TOM Organic, Sophie isn’t waiting for change – she’s making it happen.
To find out more, I recently caught up with Sophie. Here’s what she had to say:
My idea for the ‘Axe the Tampon Tax’ campaign came about… when I was sitting in a colleague’s office at the UWA Student Guild this summer, where I am the Women’s Affairs Officer for this year. We were discussing the GST on sanitary items, being all outraged, and I jokingly said I should start a petition, because I’m in a position where people will listen to me. (Hopefully). It was never intended to take off so quickly, but I’m glad it did.
I’ve taken a tongue-in-cheek approach to this campaign because…This is a mainstream issue but it’s also one that people don’t always know about or want to discuss. Taking a more hardcore “let’s start a rally” approach is against my passion for bringing feminism back into the mainstream and making it less scary. Being cheeky gets people to take notice, makes it fun, and makes it less scary, allowing more people to get behind the campaign and realise that it’s a real issue.
The easiest way people can get involved is to…Sign the petition on and even write or email your local MP to tell them how much of a bloody outrage it is!
When I’m not campaigning for change…I’m running the Women’s Department- we have a great campaign for Women’s Mental Health and Body Image that was my brainchild, much like this one. It’s called The Bare Truth and it’s been really rewarding. Or I’ll be watching Doctor Who, Grey’s Anatomy, Sherlock, and generally procrastinating from my Uni Degree. (Bachelor of Arts – Ancient History and Literature)
I’m currently saying yes to…Boots. All the boots. And endless TV shows. And editing The Bare Truth magazine (it’s excellent procrastination).
I’m passionate about…Women’s Issues, especially mental health. I had a friend suffer from fairly serious anorexia when I was at dance school in Year 11 and 12, and it made me really set on doing something about it. And underwear. I’m passionate about good underwear.
I’m inspired by…the women around me. Being the Women’s Officer has allowed me to start up campaigns that I really care about, and allows me to meet people who can make me feel great and who teach me the most amazing things.
I wish more people knew…about the GST on Tampons. Seriously, how do people not know that it’s a thing? And how are people not shouting at the Government to make it not a thing?
My golden rule is…Honesty is the best policy. Speak your mind and say how you feel. But maybe be polite if required. And laugh at yourself, constantly