Gender Equity in Australia's Tax System

24 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2009

See all articles by Miranda Stewart

Miranda Stewart

University of Melbourne - Law School; Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Date Written: December 8, 2009


In 2008, the Australian Labor government announced a review of Australia’s Future Tax System which reports at the end of 2009. The Review has a broad remit to examine Australia’s federal and state tax and transfer (welfare) systems. Gender issues are at play in some crucial parts of the Review analysis, but are absent from other parts. The Review’s discussion of workforce participation seems to take seriously the impact of the tax-transfer system on women’s work choices. However, its analysis of the taxation of capital and savings largely ignores gender. This paper analyses the gendered dynamics of tax policy in the Review with a focus on the income tax. In particular, it examines the Review’s approach to efficiency and equity in respect of two issues that have important implications for women: the well-known debate about the appropriate tax-transfer unit and the less-visible issue of women’s ability to accumulate assets over their lifetime.

Keywords: tax policy, gender, tax reform, sex discrimination

JEL Classification: K00, K34

Suggested Citation

Stewart, Miranda, Gender Equity in Australia's Tax System (December 8, 2009). U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 443, Available at SSRN: or

Miranda Stewart (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

Melbourne, Victoria 3010
+61 3 8344 6544 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

7 Liversidge Street
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, ACT 0200

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