Saturday, 6 April 2013

President Abela's Speech on the Occasion of Opening the 12th Parliament


Mr Speaker,

Honourable members of the House of Representatives,

We have opened a new chapter in the history of this people. The time for pique, partisanship, arrogance in leadership, at all levels of administration, must become a part of the past. This will be a Government that looks towards building the future, rather than copying the past. This will be a Government which will lead with a sense of humility and will be ready to take decisions.

With the sign that it gave in the last general election the Maltese public has made it clear to all of us that it is tired of the politics of the past. It is a message to the political class and to all those who will form part of this administration and of this Parliament.

This is the beginning of the legislative work of this new Government. In all its parliamentary work,this Government will keep in mind that Malta does not belong to one part of the population or the other. It does not belong to a clique. Not even to a politician nor to a party. That time has passed.

As from today, from this Parliament, we will begin to serve our people. We will start to build on the positive and bring about a change where it is needed. This will be done carefully. As this Government already had the opportunity of doing in its first days, it will work with serenity and tranquility so that our country will keep striving ahead with no jolts while steering towards the targets which will lead the country to success.

This Government wants to ensure that everyone feels part of and contributes to the success of our country. This Government has been elected as a movement and will lead as a movement……..

Civil Liberties

During its first days, the new Government announced the amendments it will present to the Marriage Act so that persons who have changed their gender will not be hindered by the Director of the Public Registry to be provided with a marriage certificate. These amendments will be discussed in Parliament in the second week after its official opening.

It was after this news was announced that a person, a Maltese citizen like us, dropped the case filed against this country to see that her wish and right to marry are respected. Her first words were "Now Malta has acknowledged me as her daughter." This is the type of society which this new Government wants. A society whose doors are open to all. A society which celebrates diversity, which acknowledges the realities around us and which understands the needs for equality and respect for minorities.

The time has come to strengthen our civil liberties. This is why a politician has been appointed to be responsible for civil liberties. This is why a law on cohabitation will be introduced to protect the rights of couples living together and their children. This is why the right of civil union will be introduced for same-sex couples. This is why a law regulating the identification of trans-gender persons will be introduced.

For this Government, it does not matter who you are. It will not interfere in the conscious and free choices of the individual. You are worthy of reaching your aspirations as you are.

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