The Malta Independent 11 December 2017, Monday

Unity has to be achieved collectively, not by a single person – David Agius

Rebecca Iversen Monday, 23 October 2017, 10:25 Last update: about 3 months ago

Rebecca Iversen speaks to DAVID AGIUS, Nationalist Party contender for the post of deputy leader for parliamentary affairs, who is also Party Whip; he insists that unity within the Party cannot be achieved by a single person but collectively

It is well known that you had been pressured by other members of the Party to step down for Chris Said in order to resolve this divide within the Party. Since you have not and if you are elected, how will you reconcile these differences?

Although we all have our different methodologies of working, the main aim is the same. We all want to work to change the Nationalist Party for the better, to serve as a good Opposition, to better the nation and ultimately to be there for the people. I will continue to work with Chris Said to ensure our shared vision is achieved. We have mutual respect and we both understand and appreciate each other.

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At any point in time, did you approach Delia stating that you are ready to step down for Chris Said so he could run uncontested?

Keep in mind my belief that individualist power does not benefit anyone but the person, and that we should work together as a united Party.

I had announced my intention to run for the post of Deputy Leader on 30 July, regardless of the outcome of the leadership race. I believe that the only winner at the end of the process must be the Party. My experience as Whip will be an asset to serve as deputy leader for parliamentary affairs.

Everybody has his place in the Party. Unity has to be achieved not by a single person but collectively.

Dr Delia had already been aware of my intentions, and told me to go ahead with my nomination in the same way he told other candidates to do.

 

Will you retain your position as the Party’s parliamentary whip if elected or will someone else be chosen for the role?

This decision will be in the hands of the Leader of the Opposition.

 

Do you have any preferences for who is elected as deputy leader for Party affairs?

As I said previously, we all have the same vision for our Party and I am ready to work with anyone who shares this same vision.

 

There are still a number of MPs, such as Jason Azzopardi and others like David Grixti, still strongly criticising the Party. Do you think they should just leave or step down?

As a Member of Parliament, Jason Azzopardi has a duty to provide opinions, but with duties also comes responsibility. There are a various channels that can be used to provide such opinions and one must consider this carefully. On the other hand, David Grixti is not a Member of Parliament and as such falls under a different category.

 

What do you believe are the three most important qualities a deputy leader of parliamentary affairs needs to have?

Just like any other MP, the most important role for any deputy is first and foremost to serve the nation. To do this we need to work together as an Opposition to strive for the best. We can only do this together, so I believe loyalty is a very important quality. Loyalty to the Party, as well as loyalty to the people. Strong leadership skills as well as humility must work hand in hand to support the role of Deputy Leader of Parliamentary Affairs.

Furthermore, 14 years of parliamentary experience, nine of which as Party Whip and four as Chairman of the Committee for Consideration of Bills, together with my numerous participation in local and foreign parliamentary committees and parliamentary delegations, are surely an asset when it comes to serving as Deputy Leader of Parliamentary Affairs.

 

Why do you want the PN councils and members to vote for you?

I have boundless energy and experience; the right combination to fulfil the role of deputy leader of Parliamentary Affairs. This is evident from the way I have worked for the past 14 years as an MP and nine years as a Whip.

PN councillors and ‘tesserati’ would also want a person that our new Leader of the Opposition Adrian Delia can rely on while doing the Opposition’s work in Parliament. An experienced person he can trust and rely on.”

 

What is your vision for the Party? What will the Party’s ‘new way’ look like?

I consider listening to the people to be the central approach to grasp the requirements of society. However, just listening is not sufficient; we must listen and understand. Our response will be in the way we lead the Party to become the Party of the people once again. Our reply will be in the way we will be more relevant and in touch with society. Of course, my vision is not a sole one and I will follow in the tracks of the leader.

 

Will you help lead the Party in a conservative direction or a more liberal one?

Each issue will be tackled individually and as deemed in the best interest of the people. While the Nationalist Party will always stand for what it believes in, times are changing and I will ensure our approach is forward looking while keeping our values and morals in check.

 

What do you believe PN needs to do become re-electable again?

The PN Headquarters should act as the stem from which ideas should flourish and evolve. The PN should demonstrate through its mediums how the Party’s philosophies will be portrayed. Through this, the people can envisage how the Party will execute its ideas and concepts once in government.

This strategy should also be reflected in our parliamentary work.

 

If you are not elected as deputy leader, where do you see yourself working in the Party? If you are not elected will you resign?

At this point there is no space for egotistic ways and it is my intention to work for the Party where and as necessary to ensure our vision is achieved.

 

If you are not elected do you think you will be kept as Whip?

While this decision will be made by the Leader of the Opposition, I reiterate that at this point my core focus remains on the best interests of the Party. 

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