Divorce is a civil right, Labour leader insists
Says wants to reignite flame of feminism
Divorce was another social instance in history which Labour had fought for against all odds and was proved right in the end, Labour leader Joseph Muscat said this evening.
Speaking at the end of the party's May 1 celebrations, Dr Muscat said divorce was a civil right as were the vote for women and young people, free healthcare and education, all of which Labour governments had fought for wholeheartedly.
He said he will continue to speak in favour of this civil right even if he was the only one doing so, because he believed in compassion.
Although he was tolerant and respected different opinions, he would not change his mind on the issue but would respect the referendum result, whatever this would be.
Divorce, he said, was part of big social change he wanted to push forward.
He called on the Nationalist Party to publicly say that people could vote against the party line on this issue and that they should not be influenced by the stand it had taken.
Dr Muscat also said that he wanted to reignite the flame of feminism.
Malta, he said, had to capitalise on this big resource. More women than men were graduating and they should not be forced to work to deal with the burdens of everyday life but they should be encouraged to work to fulfil their life.
For this there had to be the right structures in place, such as decent maternity and paternity leave and day care centres.
His family policy, Dr Muscat said, was not to beat on one's chest against divorce, but to create the right socio-economic circumstances to help families stay together.
According to research, two couples separated daily and the biggest reason was financial difficulties. So a stronger economy had to be created.
Dr Muscat criticised the theocratic policies of "the people who had hijacked the PN". He described the electricity tariffs as immoral and accused the government of perpetuating illegal employment even in government contracts.
Families, Dr Muscat said, should also be given the necessary benefits. But the government had its priorities wrong and instead of finding money to help families overcome burdens, it was spending €100 million on the City Gate project, it was building a bridge to nowhere at the breakwater and it had given cabinet members a €500 weekly raise.
Dr Muscat, who is not receiving the raise, sad that denying him that money was not affecting him because he was never going to take it.
It was, however, affected the charities and individuals who would have benefitted.