Charles Doudiet 'Swearing allegiance to the Southern Cross' 1 December 1854 Ballarat Fine Art Gallery Collection

No taxation without representation

The Ballarat Reform League Charter and the Eureka Rebellion were precipitated by resentment towards the imposition and heavy-handed enforcement of the unfair taxing of miners through mining licence fees that applied irrespective of their success on the goldfields. The 1854 Charter demanded: 1. A full and fair representation; 2. Manhood suffrage; 3. No property qualification of Members for the Legislative Council; 4. Payment of Members; 5. Short duration of Parliament. 

The women's suffrage petition in Victoria was presented to the Parliament in September 1891. In that petition the second article reads 'That taxation and representation should go together without regard to the sex of the taxed.' This directly drew on the rhetoric of the English Civil War and the struggle for independence in the American colonies. 

An example of how women are discriminated against in taxation is the imposition of GST on sanitary products. In the UK, the tax on sanitary products (Value Added Tax - referred to in campaigning as the Vagina Added Tax) was removed following a vigorous campaign. A campaign in Australia continues.

Much larger questions arise in the negative space created by what we do not attend to in economics - such as the unpaid work of women particularly as mothers and carers. These areas of unpaid work contrast with gloomy prospects for women in terms of participation in the paid workforce due to structural economic changes.

In addition, governments often fail to consider the overall mix of taxation and government support or services and how this mix adversely affects women.