Muscat:' There is role for Anglu Farrugia, our door is always open'
Labour leader Joseph Muscat said today that he saw a major role for Anglu Farrugia in the party and the country and the door was always open to him.
Dr Muscat was speaking in a recorded interview on Radio Malta with Andrew Azzopardi.
Dr Muscat said his analysis of the electoral campaign so far was that it was a positive campaign from Labour's side. The PL was serene, he said. The innovative element of this campaign was that people wanted a new style of politics, a break from the past.
He said the proposal which had gone down the best was the concept of accountability and good governance, including the proposal that MPs would be paid according to the number of sittings they attended. Such a measure was needed after the political class as a whole suffered in public perception when ministers gave themselves the €500 a week raise.
Replying to questions on the impact of the Anglu Farrugia controversy, Dr Muscat said he continued to have respect for Dr Farrugia and he still believed he had a major role to play in the party and the country. He looked forward to him giving this contribution. "The door is always open," he said.
The Labour leader reiterated that the PL would continue to publish its accounts and list the donations given to it. The PN, he said, should publish its accounts at least for how long that Dr Gonzi was prime minister.
Dr Muscat did not say if the names of donors would be published, saying legislation on party funding would be given priority by a Labour government.
On the possible granting of a pardon in the oil procurement scandal (the interview was recorded some days ago) Dr Muscat said he did not have in his possession the information held by the prime minister. However this problem was created because Malta did not have whistle-blower legislation.
Furthermore, in cases were politicians could possibly be involved, should Malta be in a situation where politicians decided on pardons?
Dr Muscat said the PL's electoral programme was a roadmap for economic growth from which everyone would benefit. He stressed that the reduction in electricity tariffs would prompt an economic revival. The reduction in tariffs would be coupled with schemes for business start-ups and other assistance for businesses, part-time work and Gozo.
On new civil rights and their impact on the concept of the traditional family, Dr Muscat said the biggest value was equality. This country was maturing tot he stage where it acknowledged that there was need for new civil liberties. Divorce had not brought about the social cataclysm which some had claimed. In the same way, giving the right of union to gay people was something which, 10 years on, people would say was something which was needed.
On IVF, he said the law would be given time to work. The service, he said, should be provided free by the state for several cycles, and one hd to discuss what the cut-off should be.
As for adoptions, decisions should be based on the best interests of the children, not the sexual orientation of the prospective parents. There appeared to be political consensus on this.
On hunting and trapping, Dr Muscat said regulations in Malta should be in line with those of the EU, and should not go beyond them. Furthermore, derogations would be enforced in a proper manner.
Replying to other questions, Dr Muscat said society had also matured enough to consider changes in the Constitution, including taking some powers away from politicians. This was appropriate, he said, as Malta, as a whole, prepared to celebrate 50 years of independence next year.
He said Labour, and apparently, also the PN, were in favour of neutrality but the concept as laid down in the Constitution needed to be brought up to date since the world had changed.
On the university, Dr Muscat said Labour believed that Malta could attract foreign investment leading to the opening of a second university, although this did not mean taking away anything from the existing university.
On Mepa, he said the Labour proposal to separate the planning and environment functions was not far removed from the original concept of Mepa as conceived by the first PN government. However the planning functions would include voting representation of the environment authority, NGOs and local councils.