Thursday, 14 May 2009

MaltaStar: The State has to protect everyone – [Joseph] Muscat


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The role of the State is not to be judgmental but to safeguard the rights of each and every citizen, Labour leader Joseph Muscat said.

Dr Muscat was addressing a press conference, organised by the Labour Youth Forum (FZL) on Wednesday evening. During the event, Labour's youth candidates for the upcoming local councils elections were presented.

Building a progressive coalition – Muscat called for a progressive coalition that would see the youth, pensioners, self-employed, workers and middle-class join forces under one movement. 

“Now it is important to see that our ideas are implemented in a practical manner, for the youth who works in a factory, for those who left school early, for those attending MCAST, Junior College, Secondary School and University, with the hope of building a profession and a future,” Muscat said. 

“We also need to represent those who have not yet built a family, for those young couples who have loan repayments and for those who have received their first bills.”

Muscat calls for a broader definition of the Family
 – The State is not there to be judgmental but to protect the citizen. The number of families outside marriage is increasing, whether by choice or by necessity. Thus, it is important to protect them, Muscat said. 

There are cases where a couple, with children, who have been living together for over thirty years, finds itself in serious difficulties when one of the partners dies. The law does not protect them with the risk of finding themselves without a home, Muscat insisted. “We wanted to make changes in the rent reform so even families outside marriage are protected,” the Labour leader said, “however, the Nationalist Party voted against it.” This is what distinguishes a progressive party from a conservative one, Muscat added.  

Gay rights – “I’m proud to say that when the time came to vote for gay rights, we voted in favour,” Muscat said, when referring to directive and laws tabled in the European Parliament, for which the Nationalist party voted against. 

“The Labour Party was never afraid of the conservative forces”, Muscat emphasised, “it was the Labour Party who insisted on the separation of State and Church.” Everyone has the right to practice whichever religion they like. “I’m a proud Christian,” Muscat added “but the State has to protect everyone.” It was also a Labour administration who decriminalised homosexuality in 1970s.

“We are not here to judge, but to be build a coalition for a better future,” Muscat said.

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