The Malta Independent 13 June 2024, Thursday
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The Labour Party has always been on the side of good – Abela

Monday, 10 June 2024, 19:57 Last update: about 3 days ago

The Labour Party has always been on the side of good, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Monday evening.

He spoke during an interview on party media, the day after the MEP elections which saw the gap between the Labour Party and the Nationalist Party shrink to under 9,000 votes.

The Prime Minister confirmed that a meeting of the PL Parliamentary Group and the party's executive was set to take place on Monday night, but shot down speculation that he was going to call a vote of confidence. "Total spin," he said. "Those kinds of internal confidence votes are only requested by politicians who know that their time in politics has ended, but would be trying to ask for an artificial extension of their time."

"I have and always had a profession and when that moment comes, I will take that decision on my own."

During the interview, he said that "the PL, historically as well, was always on the side of good. The people trusted us so much over the past years as it saw we were on the side of good on so many different themes," he said, mentioning civil rights as an example, and the issue of divorce and same-sex marriage.

"In the campaign we saw so many sensitive and important themes discussed, I'll mention the reforms in the family court. Until Saturday people spoke to me telling us to implement the reform as there are so many in pain. But to implement such decisions you cannot make compromises with what is right. So if you ask me what needs to emerge from the Parliamentary Group and PL Executive meeting, it is that the PL cannot be used for compromises with what is right. I will not be used to make compromises with what is right as I would be making a compromise with my conscience and I don't want to do that."

Speaking about the election result in a separate part of the interview, Abela said that it was a victory with a strong message from the people. "What we will discuss in executive Committee tonight, which I called in conjunction with the PL Parliamentary Group, is our willingness for that strong message to be implemented and move to taking decisions the people expect. The people again showed, even in the mid-term elections which are used to send a message, that they trust us. Even in the context of all the circumstances there were, it again showed that trust. But we would be burying our heads in the sand if we say that no message was sent." He said that they can either take the attitude of others, who he said are currently celebrating that they lost, "or we can say that the will of the people is sovereign and that the people's expectations of us are higher and believe that we can reach solutions, and we go and implement them."

He said that there are certain changes, irrespective of the people's decision, "that I long believe had to be taken in the country."

"In 2020 we enacted reforms in this country with regards to good governance that had never been done."

He said that because these reforms were enacted, along with others such as those regarding the appointment of certain top posts, the people saw the good will of the government, giving it the largest mandate in 2020. Going forward, he said, "there are decisions this country has been postponing for years either because they are sensitive or because you need courage to go for them. I will mention construction as an example. We did a lot over the past months. We implemented reforms that had never been done in the country, but have we done enough? We started on the road but there are other reforms that have to be made," he said, mentioning the inconvenience caused to neighbours, the weight on infrastructure this sector creates.

He said there is a principle that guides all reforms that the government wants to make. "Whether we will go on the road to defend what is right and what is right alone, and I believe that needs to be the principle that needs to move us forward. You can ask me what does this mean, it can mean many things. Everyone knows what it means. So whenever you come to take a decision in your life you can either compromise, or go towards good or go towards the crooked. I am clear in what I represent. I go and defend only what is right on any theme we are talking about, be it the environment, construction, whether we need to reduce foreign workers."

Later during the interview, Abela questioned "how sensitive are we truly when people come to us, not for unjustified personal favours, but when there is a justified pain?"

"A question I am putting forward is this, is everyone showing that commitment?" He said warned everyone in government structures that they could not expect a cushy job.  "We are either there to be of service for the people, or we are there to serve the people when it comes to legitimate needs."

"I have heard too many episodes of people who when it comes to what is truly legitimate, where the state by right must adhere to what is being requested, would say they weren't contacted back. We are there to serve people."



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