Opposition leader shuns ‘conservative label’ and alleges that the gay lobby and the Labour Party might have reached a pre-electoral agreement.
Tuesday 17 December 2013 - 16:01 by Jerome Caruana Cilia
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has suggested the Labour government could have reached a pre-electoral agreement with the gay lobby over civil unions and the adoption of children by gay couples.
Interviewed by Saviour Balzan on Reporter, Busuttil denied the Nationalist Party had adopted a conservative stance. Instead, he claimed there, "could have been an agreement between the gay lobbyists and the Labour Party before the general election."
The PN has called on the government to seek a social impact assessment test prior to legalising adoption for gay couples.
Without specifying which survey he was referring to, Busuttil said that 80% of the general public question adoption by gay couples.
"As a result, the government has to study this issue before taking any decision," Busuttil said.
Quizzed over the past 25 years which had seen a nepotistic government, Busuttil said he could not be held accountable for things of the past.
The Opposition leader also defended his position on the Enemalta oil scandal, insisting that he had nothing to hide.
Balzan asked: "Don't you think that asking for a PAC meeting was counterproductive?"
"I was the one who pushed for the Public Accounts Committee to investigate the case so that the truth would come out. The difference is that, under a Nationalist administration seven individuals were arraigned in court. Yet, after nine months of a Labour government, no one was brought to justice," he said.
Busuttil insisted that he had "zero-tolerance for corruption, zero-tolerance for malpractice... I'm not in politics to be dishonest and I won't allow any abuses."
"After all the slogans and the various catchphrases that the Labour Party used during the electoral campaign, no one has been charged?" he said.
Busuttil took government to task over its 'Malta Tagħna Lkoll' electoral slogan and promises of meritocracy.
"Compared to the Labour government, the Nationalist administration had been impeccable in its application of meritocracy," he said, adding that the government was now refusing to even reveal the salary of Labour's deputy leader Toni Abela, a government consultant. Busuttil went on the attack, saying that Abela was also Balzan's lawyer.
Balzan however noted that Abela was only one of four lawyers, but the others were never picked on because they were not Labourites.
Busuttil pointed to the appointment of Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi's wife, Sai Mizzi Liang, as the government's investment envoy for Asia: "Could you imagine what would have happened if a wife of a Nationalist minister wife had been appointed ambassador?"
Pressed by Balzan on what real change he would bring about, Busuttil said he would not politicise the public institutions which should enjoy everyone's trust.
"Sensitive positions should be free of partisan politics. A role such as that of the Police Commissioner should enjoy everyone's trust... but the current Commissioner was elevated because he was close to the PL," he said.
Busuttil was equally critical of the memorandum of understanding that Malta signed with the Chinese state-owned company, selling stakes at Enemalta.
He argued that since the government approached the company within two or three months it was elected, the impression was that "some form of compromise may have been reached before the general election".
The Opposition leader said the country had to know why no one had been informed that the government was planning to privatise Enemalta.
"How did he decide the stakes? On what criteria was the shareholding established? And why were no tenders or expression of interests issued?" Busuttil said.
He rejected arguments that the differences in ideology between the major political parties were fading and that similar philosophies had been adopted.
"These first nine months of a Labour government have been enough to see several divergences on the political ideologies between the two," he said, adding that how the government and opposition viewed nationality and the IIP was example enough.