Representing the Green Vote

5500+ votes

After the Constitutional Court decided not to accept the PN’s petitions to reopen the counting process on the 8th and the 13th electoral districts it is clear that the Labour Party has elected 39 members of Parliament to the Nationalist Party’s 26.  This result has triggered a constitutional mechanism which ensures that the parliamentary seats assigned to candidates contesting the general elections on behalf of the PN correspond to the percentage of votes it obtained at a national level. This is a mechanism which restores proportionality and ensures that the proportion of parliamentary seats assigned to the PN and the PL corresponds to the votes which they obtained at first count stage. The Nationalist Party has been allocated four Parliamentary seats as a result of this constitutional mechanism bringing the total of its Parliamentary seats to 30.

This process of restoring proportionality is discriminatory as it has been applied to the Nationalist Party but at the same time it has ignored the 5506 votes which were obtained by Green candidates at first count stage. Using the same criteria which have been applied to the Nationalist Party the Greens should have been allocated one Parliamentary seat on the basis of the total number of votes polled.  This would be in addition to the Parliamentary seats already allocated.

Both the PN and the PL speak of their being tolerant of the views of others yet when push comes to shove they have ensured that the electoral system squeezes out all possible alternatives to a two party Parliament.  Every voter has the right to be represented, yet 5,500 voters are being deprived of this right.

The Maltese Parliament is known as the House of Representatives. Its 69 members represent 98.2% of the electorate. The other 1.8% are represented by Alternattiva Demokratika-The Green Party which through the application of a discriminatory electoral law is being obstructed from taking up its Parliamentary seat.

published on March 15, 2013 on di-ve.com

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (41) Family Policy

family

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 15 of AD’s Electoral Manifest

The concept of the family varies in different social contexts.

The social changes happening around have seen the family evolving and changing and therefore we would be more accurate if we refer to “families” in order to reflect today’s realities. The social policy of Alternattiva Demokratika recognises different family types which exist in Maltese society and respects the rights and obligations of individuals forming part of these diverse family types. At the same times it stresses the importance of addressing such diversity instead of continuing to project one type of family.

Alternattiva Demokratika believes that we should move towards a family model based on the idea of the ‘universal caregiver’, where everyone, irrespective of one’s sex or status, is able to participate in the public sphere (e.g. Employment) and in the private sphere (e.g. Caring). A democratic family policy should also have children within its central framework, where regardless of the type of family, the parents should have rights and responsibilities where children are concerned.

Alternattiva Demokratika recognises the importance of the family in Maltese society. A lot of wealth, both material and not, which is created in society, is the fruit of Maltese and Gozitan families.

Alternattiva Demokratika is proud to have been pivotal in the introduction of divorce in Malta. In the same way, AD proposes the introduction of a progressive social policy pertaining to the family.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 15 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

Il-kunċett ta’ familja jvarja f’kuntesti socjali differenti. Il-bidliet soċjali li qed iseħħu madwarna raw lill-familja Maltija tevolvi u tinbidel u għalhekk inkunu aktar preċiżi jekk nużaw l-idea ta’ ‘familji’ biex inkunu qed nirriflettu ir-realtajiet ta’ llum. Il-politika soċjali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika tagħraf diversi tipi ta’ familja li jeżistu fis-soċjetà Maltija u tħares id-drittijiet u l-obbliġi tal-individwi li jikkomponu dawn il-forom diversi ta’ familja. Fl-istess ħin tisħaq fuq l-importanza li tiġi indirizzata din id-diversità minflok jibqa’ jiġi pproġettat tip wieħed ta’ familja. Alternattiva Demokratika temmen li għandna nersqu lejn mudell ta’ familji ibbażat fuq l-idea ta’ ‘universal caregiver’, fejn kulħadd, irrispettivament minn sess u stat, għandu jkun involut fl-isfera pubblika (eż. l-impjieg u x-xogħol) u dik privata (ez. ħarsien). Politika demokratika tal-familja għandu wkoll ikollha lit-tfal fil-qafas ċentrali tagħha, fejn irrispettivament mit-tip ta’ familja, il-ġenituri jkollhom drittijiet u dmirijiet f’dak li għandu x’jaqsam mat-tfal.

Alternattiva Demokratika tagħraf l-importanza tal-familja fis-soċjetà Maltija. Ħafna mill-ġid, materjali u mhux, li jinħoloq fis-soċjetà Maltija, hu frott il-ħidma tal-familji Maltin u Għawdxin.

Alternattiva Demokratika hija kburija li kienet il-mutur li wassal għall-introduzzjoni tad-divorzju f’Malta. Bl-istess mod, AD tipproponi l-introduzzjoni ta’ politika soċjali progressiva fil-qasam tal-familja.

Cross-voting

7 days

 

Well over 66% of AD voters in the 2008 general elections did not vote just for an AD candidate. Thereafter they voted for candidates of other parties as well.

Most AD voters already practice cross-party voting in general elections. They already cross over from one party to another when voting.

It is not only AD voters which practice cross-party voting. Even PN and PL voters do so although not as often as one would wish.

Our electoral system is specifically designed so that cross-party voting is possible. Voting across party lines can ensure that you select the best candidates in the different political parties. It is a very healthy political tool at your disposal.

After giving your number 1 to an AD candidate you can then proceed with giving your 2nd preference to any other candidate, irrespective whether he or she is on the PN or the PL list.

Similarly if your giving your number 1 vote to a PN or a PL candidate you may proceed with giving your 2nd preference to an AD candidate. It is a very useful way of voting. It has in fact been in use since 1921 when the present system of voting was introduced in Malta.

Cross party voting is a right. Use it well.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (40) Water

world-water-week-graphic-2

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 14 of AD’s Electoral Manifest

Water resources have been mismanaged throughout the years. Water extraction from the aquifer has been carried out without taking into consideration its natural replenishment. This does not only refer to the recorded water statistics. It also results from the number of boreholes which have been tolerated throughout the years. AD considers that the water extracted from illegal boreholes as the misappropriation of a publicly owned resource.

AD also believes that water – which is a strategic resource of national importance – should be priced in a realistic way. In the short run, all unregistered boreholes should be banned. In the longer run, save for some strategic exceptions such as agriculture, the true price of water should be reflected in its consumption, where wasteful practices, and not basic use of water, are to be penalized. Basic use should be subsidized. The Water Services Corporation should have full control of all water production, which should then be distributed according to the country’s priorities.

Eventually all bore holes shall cease to be operational and steps have to be taken to ensure that it is clear to all that the water table is public property.

Water used for human consumption as well as all water used for domestic purposes is partly sourced from ground water (44%) whilst the rest is the result of processing of sea water through Reverse Osmosis technology. This amounts for around 29 million cubic metres annually.

Up till the present day the sewage generated in the Maltese islands which during 2011 was estimated at 24 million cubic metres (21,858,000 cubic metres in Malta and 1,982,000 cubic metres in Gozo) is being dumped into the sea, recently subsequent to purification.

AD has been insisting for a long time that the treated sewage which is being dumped into the sea is a wasted resource with a high economic and social value. It is technically possible that with additional treatment (polishing) this water can be used for agriculture, industry and public consumption as is being done in other countries notably Singapore.

The Resources Authority (MRA) as well as the Water Services Corporation (WSC) have been carrying out various trials and experiments in order to establish the optimum use of treated sewage. A proposal has been made that subject to the quality of the purified water being of an acceptable quality this could be used to recharge the aquifer. Whilst AD agrees with this proposal it should be underlined that for this objective to be attained it must be ascertained that only permissible liquid waste is discharged into the public sewer. For this objective to be achieved it must be ensured that industry, in particular SMEs, are conscious of their impacts when they discharge all sorts of chemical waste into the public sewer. Regulatory controls should be strengthened through the employment of a well-trained inspectorate as well as effective deterrents.

It is essential that more efforts are made in order that more rainwater is harvested in our towns and villages and that this should be put to good use. Insufficient efforts have been made to tackle the impacts of flooding. In this context it has to be stated that the restoration of valleys has to be a continuous process which protects biodiversity and ensures that accumulated waters are not the cause of any damage.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 14 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

Is-settur tal-ilma matul is-snin ġie traskurat. L-estrazzjoni tal-ilma mill-pjan saret fi kwantitajiet kbar li ma qisitx ir-rata li biha n-natura kienet qed tirrimpjazza l-ilma. Dan ma jgħoddx biss għall-ilma użat b’mod uffiċjali iżda fuq kollox hu rifless fl-eluf ta’ boreholes li ġew tollerati matul iż-żmien. L-ilma li ttella’ minn dawn il-boreholes illegali. Alternattiva Demokratika tikkunsidrah bħala serq ta’ proprjetà pubblika.

L-ilma – riżors strategiku ta’ importanza nazzjonali – għandu jkollu prezz realisitku. Fuq medda ta’ żmien qasir, kull borehole mhux reġistrata għandha tingħalaq. Fuq medda ta’ żmien itwal, b’ eċċezzjonijiet strateġiċi bħall-agrikoltura, il-prezz veru tal-ilma għandu jkun rifless fil-konsum tiegħu, fejn għandhom jiġu penalizzati l-prattiċi ħalja, u mhux il-konsum bażiku tal-ilma. Il-konsum bażiku għandu jiġi ssusidjat. Il-Korporazzjoni għas-Servizzi tal-Ilma għandha jkollha kontroll sħiħ fuq il-produzzjoni tal-ilma, li, sussegwentament, għandu jiġi ridistribwit skond il-prioritajiet tal-pajjiż.

L-ilma li nixorbu kif ukoll l-ilma li nużaw għal skop domestiku illum joriġina in parti mill-ilma tal-pjan (44%) u in parti hu prodott billi bil-proċess tar-Reverse Osmosis ikun ipproċessat ilma tal-baħar. Dan għal total ta’ madwar 29 miljun metru kubu fis-sena.

Sal-lum l-ilma tad-drenaġġ ġġenerat fil-Gżejjer Maltin — li hu stmat li fis-sena 2011 kien jammonta għal 24 miljun metru kubu fis-sena (21,858,000 mk f’Malta u 1,982,000 mk f’Għawdex) — qed jintefa’ l-baħar, wara li jkun ippurifikat.

Alternattiva Demokratika ilha tinsisti li dan d-drenaġġ ippurifikat li qed jintefa’ l-baħar hu riżorsa moħlija u għandu valur ekonomiku u soċjali kbir. Huwa teknikament possibli illi b’purifikazzjoni addizzjonali (polishing) dan l-ilma jkun jista’ jintuża għall-agrikoltura, għall-industrija u anke għall-konsum pubbliku kif diġa qiegħed isir f’pajjiżi oħra bħal Singapor.

L-Awtorità dwar ir-Rizorsi kif ukoll il-Korporazzjoni għas-Servizzi tal-Ilma ilhom issa għaddejjin b’esperimenti biex jistabilixxu l-aħjar użu li jista’ jsir minn l-ilma tad-drenaġġ ippurifikat. Saret proposta dwar il-possibilità li jekk il-kwalità tal-ilma ippurifikat tkun waħda aċċettabbli, dan l-ilma jista’ jintuża biex l-ilma tal-pjan ikun rikarigat (aquifer recharge). Fil-waqt li Alternattiva Demokratika taqbel ma’ dan, tħoss li għandha tissottolinea illi biex dan l-iskop ikun jista’ jintlaħaq hu essenzjali li qabel ikun assigurat li l-iskart likwidu li jinxteħet ġos-sistema tad-drenaġġ ikun biss dak aċċettabbli. Biex dan iseħħ irid ikun assigurat li l-industrija, b’mod partikolari l-intrapriżi ż-żgħar ikunu konxji tal-impatt tagħhom meta jagħmlu użu mis-sistema tad-drenaġġ biex fiha jitfgħu kull xorta ta’ skart kimiku. Is-sistema ta’ kontrolli trid tkun imsaħħa bi spettorat imħarreġ sewwa u b’deterrent effettiv.

Huwa meħtieġ li ssir iżjed ħidma biex ikun assigurat li jinġabar iktar ilma tax-xita fl-ibliet u l-irħula tagħna u li dan ikun jista’ jintuża. Ma saritx biżżejjed ħidma biex tnaqqas l-impatt tal-għargħar. F’dan il-kuntest huwa importanti li r-restawr tal-widien ikun proċess kontinwu li jħares il-bijodiversità u jassigura li l-ilmijiet akkumulati ma jagħmlux ħsara.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (39) Solar energy from the Sahara Desert

A general view shows the PS10 solar plant at "Solucar" solar park in Sanlucar la Mayor

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 13 of AD’s Electoral Manifest

Malta should be involved in efforts to harness solar energy from the Sahara desert, bearing in mind the rights of residents where such developments take place and the social aspects affecting the populations of the area. Saharan populations should have the right to access the created energy and take part fully in the local committee..

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 13 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

Malta għandha tappoġġja u tinvolvi ruħha b’mod attiv fl-idea tal-iżvilupp ta’ sistemi ta’ energija solari fid-deżert tas-Saħara fl-Afrika ta’ fuq, sakemm jitħares l-aspett soċjali tal-popolazzjoni lokali, inkluż id-drittijiet ta’ residenti f’żoni fejn isir żvilupp,

id-drittijet tar-residenti li jkollhom aċċess ekwu għall-enerġija li tiġi prodotta u parteċipazzjoni sħiħa ta’ komunitajiet lokali.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (38) working conditions

working carrots

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 12 of AD’s Electoral Manifest

The Government and the Social Partners should show more determination in their fight against precarious employment. This type of work is on the increase among different categories of workers with different skills, experience and qualifications, such as with the increase of definite contract work as well as with the increase of workers registered as self-employed but who would be selling their services to one contractor such as the Government or the owner of a business. The Government should ensure that its contracts are not based on precarious employment.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 12 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

Il-Gvern u l-imsieħba soċjali għandhom juru aktar determinazzjoni fil-ġlieda kontra l-pjaga tax-xogħol prekarju. Dan it-tip ta’ xogħol qiegħed jiżdied fost kategoriji differenti ta’ ħaddiema b’ħiliet, esperjenzi u kwalifiċi differenti, ngħidu aħna biż-żieda ta’ xogħol b’kuntratt definit kif ukoll iż-żieda ta’ ħaddiema rreġistrati bħala self-employed li jkunu qed ibigħu x-xogħol tagħhom lil kuntrattur wieħed bħall-Gvern jew sid ta’ negozju. Il-Gvern ghandu jiżgura li l-kuntratti li joħroġu ma jkunux ibbażati fuq xogħol prekarju.

A loan for the Nationalist Party

PN. arma imkisra

It is normal for a commercial company to take up a loan from a commercial bank for the purposes of its  activities.

But is a commercial company owned by a political party “a normal commercial operation”?  In my opinion it is not.

Hence the declaration that business tycoon Nazzareno Vassallo has loaned the sum of €250,000 to a media company belonging to the PN is bad news. It is an additional exercise in the financing of a major political party in Malta by a major player in local business activity.

The terms and conditons of the loan have not been disclosed.

The very existence of this loan proves, if any proof was needed, of how close the Nationalist Party is to the major players in the construction industry.

The Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationalist Party has assured one and all that this did not give rise to any sort of obligation of the Nationalist Party towards Mr Vassallo and his companies. This loan will be paid he said, and very shortly.

I do not know whether and how the loan will be paid. What I know is that public confirmation of this loan has sealed the view of many that business and politics are too close for comfort.

It was known by all that Dr Lawrence Gonzi and his PN have done a great disservice to politics in Malta by promising legislation on regulating the financing of political parties and not keeping to his word. The approval of this loan explains clearly what the Leader of the PN really thinks on the regulation of the financing of political parties.

Alternattiva Demokratika in Parliament after the March 9 elections will be submitting proposals for legislation to ensure that the finances of political parties are transparent and regulated by law.

PN and the PL Members of Parliament, in the outgoing legislature, had for their consideration a Private Member’s Bill on regulating the financing of political parties. They ignored it.

Alternattiva Demokratika will improve that draft and present it for discussion in the new Parliament.

originally published in di-ve.com on Friday March 1, 2013

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (37) Education – The Curriculum

education 01

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 11 of AD’s Electoral Manifest

AD is in agreement with the way the consultation process regarding the National Curriculum Framework was conducted. Whilst referring to its detailed reaction on the document itself issued last year, AD emphasises the following points as the lynchpins for the development of our educational system:

The need for the NCF and by implication the educational system as a whole to distance itself from the pervading utilitarian and economic undertones which limit to a large extent efforts towards a truly holistic education.

There needs to be a conscious effort to make the NCF much less prescriptive so that it leaves much needed space for innovation in education whilst ensuring quality.

AD emphasises the need for a cooperative education and a sense of community as the lynch pins of educational policy.

AD agrees with efforts to provide a more holistic view in curriculum planning

AD gives thumbs up to the introduction of technology education in all schools as an educational right for all students rather than have this knowledge component segregated within particular schools as was the case in the past.

AD agrees with the proposal concerning changes in science education. This should help to reduce fragmentation of knowledge as a result of early specialization currently in place. This should help provide a more holistic, wider and critical view of the world. AD also supports the bigger emphasis on physical education.

There needs to be a better articulation of creativity and the arts such that these crucial aspects in educational development are not considered any more as the Cinderella of our educational system.

No efforts should be spared to help teachers feel inspired and supported within the context of mixed ability classes.

Whilst the draft NCF addresses reform in the primary and the secondary, AD feels that these efforts will remain half baked if urgent reforms in the Secondary Education Certificate (SEC), Matriculation (MATSEC) and the post secondary sector in general remain untackled. A conherent educational reform demands no less. AD strongly feels that SEC should be taken up by the Education Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education so that consistency in vision and implementation become more possible.

AD concurs with the proposal of ethical education for students who chose not to follow Catholic religion lessons. AD feels that this component should feature as an integral part of the curriculum for all students whilst still providing the opportunity for religious education.

AD notes with satisfaction that after airing its reservations regarding the regimen originally proposed in the Secondary School Certificate and Profile, a committee was subsequently set up for the revision of this certificate. AD suggests that following this revision, the policy is revised after a number of years following its implementation.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 11 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

AD taqbel mal-mod kif ġie mniedi il-proċess wiesgħa ta’ konsultazzjoni fuq il-Qafas il-ġdid tal-Kurrikulu Nazzjonali. Filwaqt li tirreferi għar-reazzjonijiet fid-dettall li tat fuq is-suġġett is-sena l-oħra, tisħaq fuq dawn il-punti prinċipali bħala spunti ta’ żvilupp fis-sistema edukattiva:

Il-bżonn li d-dokument u allura d-direzzjoni tas-sistema edukattiva kollha tinfatam mix-xeħta utilitarja u ekonomika li tillimita bil-kbir l-iskop edukattiv wiesgħa u ħolistiku.

Isir sforz ikbar sabiex dak li joħroġ mid-dokument ma jkunx preskrittiv, imma jħalli spazju biżżejjed għall-innovazzjoni edukattiva, filwaqt li jiżgura prattika ta’ kwalità.

Tisħaq fuq il-bżonn ta’ edukazzjoni kooperattiva u s-sens ta’ komunità bħala qafas prinċipali tal-politika edukattiva.

Taqbel mat-tentattiv li jingħata sens ħolistiku ikbar fl-ippjanar tal-kurrikulu

Taqbel mal-introduzzjoni ta’ edukazzjoni teknoloġika fl-iskejjel kollha bħala dritt edukattiv ta’ kull student, iktar milli dan il-qasam tal-għerf jiġi ssegregat fi skejjel partikulari kif kien isir fl-imgħoddi.

Taqbel mar-riforma proposta fit-tagħlim tax-xjenza li għandu jnaqqas mill-frammentazzjoni tal-għerf frott speċjalizzazzjoni bikrija. Dan għandu jgħin biex tingħata stampa iktar sħiħa, wiesgħa u kritika tad-dinja. Taqbel ukoll mal-enfasi ikbar fuq l-edukazzjoni fiżika.

Fl-istess waqt, issostni l-bżonn ta’ artikolazzjoni ta’ politika fuq il-kreattività u l-arti biex dawn l-oqsma kruċjali fl-iżvilupp edukattiv ma jibqgħux kunsiderazzjonijiet tas-sekonda klassi.

Jibqa’ jsir kull sforz biex l-għalliema jħossu li huma mnebbħa u mgħejuna fl-isfond ta’ klassijiet ta’ abbiltajiet imħallta.

Tħoss li filwaqt li l-Qafas tal-Kurrikulu jindirizza riforma wiesgħa fil-qasam primarju u sekondarju, dan ma jistax isir b’mod adekwat jekk paripassu ma jiġux indirizzati riformi urġenti li għandhom bżonn isiru kemm fis-sistema tas-SEC, MATSEC, u s-sistema post-sekondarja kollha kemm hi. Hemm bżonn riforma edukattiva li tkun koerenti f’kull livell. Għaldaqstant, AD tħoss li t-tmexxija tas-SEC għandha taqa’ taħt il-ġuriżdizzjoni tad-Direttorat tal-Kwalità u Standards fl-Edukazzjoni biex ikun hemm konsistenza fil-viżjoni u fl-implimentazzjoni.

Taqbel mal-proposta fil-kurrikulu l-ġdid li jipproponi t-tagħlim tal-etika għal studenti li jagħżlu li ma jsegwux lezzjonijiet fir-reliġjon Kattolika. AD tħoss li dan il-komponent ta’ etika għandu jkun parti integrali mill-kurrikulu ta’ kull student filwaqt li l-istudenti kollha jingħataw l-opportunità jsegwu lezzjonijiet f’reliġjonijiet rikonoxxuti mill-istat.

Huwa bi pjaċir li wara t-tħassib muri mill-AD fuq ir-reġimentazzjoni fis-Secondary School Certificate and Profile kif propost oriġinarjament, twaqqaf kumitat li rreveda din l-għodda. AD tipproponi li anke wara din ir-reviżjoni, issir evalwazzjoni wara numru ta’ snin meta din l-għodda tkun għaddiet mill-għarbiel tal-prattika.