Tanya Plibersek has called for the GST to be removed from tampons.

In a National Press Club, the deputy Labor leader described the ‘tampon tax’ as a “dumb decision we just have to fix”.

“Australia levies GST on tampons but we don’t apply it to Viagra,” she said.

“Only a bunch of blokes sitting around a table would come to the conclusion that sanitary pads are anything other than an essential good.

“This was a dumb decision when it was made in 1999.”

The shadow minister for women said states and territories would need to agree to the change, but “this is something that I just don’t think is beyond us”.

Ms Plibersek said it would barely change the government’s bottom line.

“In the scope of the whole federal budget and the amount we collect in GST, I think that the technical term is ‘bugger all’”.

“I really think we can find a solution to this.”

The Greens backed the call.

“Tampons, pads and sanitary items aren’t an optional luxury, so they shouldn’t attract GST,” Greens spokesperson Janet Rice said.

“The Greens sought to fix this issue last year by moving amendments to a GST bill before the Senate, but Labor and the Coalition voted it down.

“If they are serious about fixing this issue they should support our bill to get the job done.”

Ms Plibersek said her party would boost the representation of women in senior positions on government boards and in the public service.

She said Labor would address the gender pay gap such by instituting a target to reduce the gap, if elected.

“We can’t wait 50 or more years to close the pay gap. We can’t wait 30 years for equal political representation,” she said.

“In 1972 we said ‘It’s time’. In 2018 women are saying ‘time’s up’.”