Australia looks to scrap tampon tax after student protest

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Australian government on Tuesday bowed to pressure and took the first step to end a controversial sales tax on women’s sanitary products, a day after a student carrying a giant tampon confronted the treasurer on television with a petition demanding change.

Other products like condoms and sunscreen are exempt from the 10 percent goods and services tax which is otherwise added to all items sold in Australia from day-to-day groceries to large-scale building materials.

On Monday, university student Subeta Vimalarajah presented Treasurer Joe Hockey on a television panel discussion with the result of an online petition which found that 90,000 people supported cutting the tax on sanitary items.

In a brief statement on Tuesday, Hockey said that once the Treasury calculates the cost of cutting the tax from sanitary products, “I will write to the states for them to consider the issue ahead of our next meeting in July”.

(This story has been refiled to add the dropped title treasurer in the intro)

Reporting by Byron Kaye