Monday, 11 May 2009

Times: Muscat calls for promised law on civil partnerships

Monday, 11th May 2009 by Juan Ameen

The 10-year-old Nationalist proposal for a law on civil partnerships, including gay relationships, should be implemented, Labour Leader Joseph Muscat said yesterday.

The time had come to implement a promise that would protect cohabiting couples, he insisted during a political activity in Rabat.

The state did not represent the Catholic Church and had to safeguard the rights of citizens whether they were Catholic or not, and neither should they enter into people's private lives, he maintained.

He said the three Labour MEPs always voted in favour of gays at the European Parliament while the Nationalist candidates abstained.

Television presenter John Bundy, who interviewed Dr Muscat, reminded him that he was at the forefront of the anti-EU campaign before the referendum in 2004.

"I believe in the people and followed their wishes," Dr Muscat replied. Speaking about divorce, Dr Muscat said he had come in for some fierce criticism because he had spoken out on the subject.

Before he was elected Labour leader, Dr Muscat had said he would personally present a law on divorce for discussion in Parliament but this did not happen because the Labour Party lost the general election.

He said he would give Labour MPs a free vote on the matter.

When asked by Mr Bundy if he would be prepared to put the issue to the test through a referendum, Dr Muscat replied that he was ready to look into it and "to give the Maltese a free vote."

Mr Bundy, who contested the 1996 election on the PN ticket, is openly supporting Labour MEP candidate Kirill Micallef Stafrace.

Turning to abortion, Dr Muscat emphasised that he would never accept the termination of any human life. "I never cried as hard as I did when we lost our son through a miscarriage - I cried for that foetus," he said.

Referring to illegal immigrants who were exploited by the construction industry, Dr Muscat said the legal system allowed the Maltese owners to get away with it.

"The Marsa roundabout where immigrants wait to be picked up for a job is a shame," he said.

The government turned a blind eye to these illegalities but he would never accept them.

[Click on the hyperlink at the top to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Related article:

Times: EP not the place for softies - Muscat


The candidates elected to the European Parliament should be people who could firmly defend the national interest and not bow to pressure by foreigners, Labour leader Joseph Muscat said today.

“It is not the place for softies” he said when replying to questions at a PL activity in Rabat.

Dr Muscat said a characteristic of the Labour Party was that in the European institutions, it stood up for Malta’s interest and did not budge until it got what it wanted.

Dr Muscat said the PL was being proved right in its arguments on immigration. It had insisted that burden sharing should be mandatory and it had always backed the creation of a European Migration Agency. The PN had defended voluntary burden sharing, but was now seeking mandatory burden sharing. And the PPE, of which the PN formed part, had initially voted against the setting up of the agency when it was proposed by Labour MEP Louis Grech.

Dr Muscat said that what Labour was against was illegality – such as how foreigners took over the jobs of the Maltese because no one stop worker exploitation. It was unfair that Maltese workers paid tax while foreigners were paid peanuts and not charged tax.

Replying to questions by John Bundy, Dr Muscat reiterated a statement he made a year ago that as Prime Minister, he would move a motion for the introduction of divorce, and give the Labour MPs a free vote because this was a personal and not a party issue. He hoped the PN would do likewise.

Dr Muscat reiterated that he was strongly against abortion but he was in favour of legislation to regulate cohabitation, something promised by the PN 10 years ago but never implemented. One needed to finally remove the difference between children born within marriage or out of wedlock.

Hes aid the role of the Church was recognised but the state was there for all. In the European Parliament, the Labour MEPs had voted in favour of great rights to homsexuals, while the Nationalist MEPs had abstained. He believed there should be a law on same sex partnerships – which was not marriage – and also legislation to finally remove the difference between children born within marriage or out of wedlock.

Dr Muscat also expressed concern over growing unemployment and rising costs, particularly as a result of the water and electricity tariffs, saying these were putting upward pressure on inflation and salaries, making Malta less competitive.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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