"Stop taxing my period": A video questioner poses her question in a manner that stopped the treasurer in his tracks. Photo: ABC
The Treasurer has caved to pressure after being put on the spot on last night's Q&A, admitting that the GST on sanitary products is unfair and should go.
Sydney University student Subeta Vimalarajah started the Stop Taxing My Period petition, which now has more than 92,000 signatures. Last night, she asked Joe Hockey a very simple question: "Do you think that sanitary products are an essential health good for half the population?"
Well, he couldn't really say no, could he? Does Joe Hockey think sanitary products are essential? "I think so… I think so."
But more importantly, if they are so essential, should they not be exempt from GST?
"It probably should, yes. The answer's yes."
You can watch this historic moment below:
It's taken us a long time, ladies. But we've finally been able to get a politician to accept this most simple and obvious of truths. Of course, Hockey tried to deflect blame onto a political party that hasn't existed for years. But if taxing women's sanitary products was such a simple "oversight" it could have, and should have, been amended a long time ago. Women have been bearing the cost of this for more than a decade and it took a Treasurer being embarrassed on national television by a giant tampon and a direct question to commit to pursuing the change.
It wasn't the only time Hockey was put on the spot about issues relating to women last night.
One woman opened her question with the line "at the risk of sounding aggressive," clearly in reference to Malcolm Turnbull's recent criticism of female journalists Leigh Sales and Emma Alberici for their "aggressive" interviewing style.
He was also forced to admit the government's depiction of women as "double dippers" rorting the government's paid parental leave scheme was wrong.
"I understand your concern about the words," he told the questioner, and in typical nonpology terms, "I'm sorry if you've taken offense". But Tony Jones pushed him as to whether the use of the words was wrong.
"Yes, I accept that. I totally accept that. No problems. I accept that."
You can watch that one, too:
On the question of where the funding is for addressing the domestic violence crisis, Hockey was adamant that it exists. And "there's a lot of it". In the budget's "contingency reserve". But when it comes to women getting beaten by their partners, you have to get "bang for your buck".
He'll be able to tell us how much is in the contingency reserve for domestic violence around about the time of the next election. #QandA— Karen Middleton (@KarenMMiddleton) May 25, 2015
But the most uncomfortable question of the night had to be about whether Hockey himself could be described as a "double dipper" for using government allowances to pay his wife 'rent' to stay in her home. At a rate of $270 per night, which is more than job seekers get from Centrelink in a week.
For the record, no. He doesn't think paying taxpayer-funded 'rent' to his spouse constitutes "double dipping". Interesting.