F’pajjiż demokratiku niddiskutu, anke l-abort

Illum Marlene Farrugia fil-Parlament tat-avviż ta’mozzjoni dwar abbozz ta’ liġi biex ikun dekriminalizzat l-abort. Jiġifieri biex l-ebda mara li tmiss mal-abort ma tispiċċa l-ħabs, għax hekk jgħid il-Kodiċi Kriminali illum.

Bla dubju dan li qed tipproponi Marlene hu pass kbir il-quddiem.

Li jkollna l-kuraġġ li niddiskutu dan kollu hu essenzjali. Ilna is-snin bħala pajjiż nevitaw id-diskussjoni. Il-pass ta’ Marlene illum fil-Parlament jagħti direzzjoni ġdida lid-diskussjoni.

Għad baqa’ ħafna xi jsir. Dan hu biss l-ewwel pass. Neċessarju li inneħħu l-biża’ li niddiskutu. Hekk biss nistgħu nimxu il-quddiem.

Li niddiskutu l-abort hu pass il-quddiem.

Sfortunatament għad hawn ħafna b’rashom fir-ramel li moħħhom biex ibeżżgħu bil-babaw.

L-abort f’Malta qiegħed isir.

Qiegħed isir fl-isptar Mater Dei f’każijiet fejn il-ħajja tal-omm tqila tkun fil-periklu. Matul il-ġimgħat li għaddew segwejna l-kontroversja dwar tqala ectopic u kif inqalgħet konfużjoni għax damu xi siegħat biex jamministraw il-mediċina meħtieġa biex iwaqqfu din it-tqala.

Hawn diversi li jieħdu pinnoli abortivi li jirċievu bil-posta. Hawn bosta oħra li jmorru l-Ingilterra, Sqallija jew f’xi pajjiz ieħor fil-kontinent Ewropew u jagħmlu abort.

Hu ikkalkulat li bejn 300 u 400 mara Maltija fis-sena tagħmel abort.

Dan kollu mhux qed ngħidu illum. Ilni żmien nemfasizza kemm hu meħtieġ li jkollna diskussjoni serja u matura dwar l-abort.

L-inizjattiva ta’ Marlene hi pass tajjeb f’din id-direzzjoni.

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

The Politics of Divorce


Legislation in favour of divorce already exists in Malta. No one has complained about it throughout the 36 years of its existence. A yes vote on May 28 will be a vote in favour of extending its applicability.

The 1975 Marriage Act had introduced divorce in Malta through the back door by recognising divorce decrees granted in foreign jurisdictions.

Since then, 785 persons (presumably Maltese), have made use of this right, having their marriage dissolved in various foreign countries.

This was subsequently recognised in Malta through the registration of their divorce in the Public Registry.

Of these divorce decrees, 422 were issued in the UK and 112 were issued in Australia as was indicated in a recent reply to a parliamentary question.

Divorce is a civil right that is not yet fully recognised in Malta. It is only partially recognised. Only those who have been domiciled abroad or those who have access to foreign jurisdictions (while resident in Malta) have access to this civil right.

It is as yet forbidden territory to the rest. A yes vote on May 28 will render divorce a civil right accessible to all Maltese and not just to a select few.

Divorce is an issue of political controversy even though it has been avoided by the parliamentary parties. They avoided it until such time that they could not ignore the Private Member’s Bill presented by Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando and Labour MP Evarist Bartolo. These MPs took a leaf out of the Greens’ electoral manifesto which, since 1989 (when Alternattiva Demokratika was founded), has identified divorce as an attainable political objective.

In Malta, those insisting that divorce is not a political issue do so to justify the position adopted by either of the two parliamentary parties. Both the PN and the PL want to distance themselves from the divorce referendum in order to be able to immunise themselves from the political fallout of the referendum result. Both fear the impact of the result (and the campaign leading to it) on the cohesion of their political base, irrespective of whether the yes or the no wins.

It is time to stand up and be counted.

One cannot run with the hares and simultaneously hunt with the hounds. The PN is aware its no stance makes it difficult to retain the support of those among its ranks who favour divorce. Likewise, Labour is aware that some of its supporters still seek the guidance of the parish priest in resolving their dilemmas. References to fire and brimstone and eternal damnation could obviously be intended to help the PL and its supporters make up their mind!

These are considerations which are factored into the mathematics of divorce politics. This leads to the reason for shifting the decision on divorce away from its appropriate forum in Parliament onto the electorate’s lap. None of the parliamentary parties wants to be lumped with political responsibility for introducing divorce as both fear electoral retribution, which, even if marginal, could be a determining factor in the forthcoming polls.

The PN and the PL have successfully avoided mentioning divorce in all their electoral manifestos but then they proceeded to use this same avoidance in order to justify Parliament’s inability to act. While this is a disservice to the community, obviously, Malta has the MPs it deserves.

After 22 years AD is still the only political party in Malta which supports divorce legislation. The PN, true to its conservative pedigree, is unsurprisingly against while “progressive” Labour has no official position although, as a consolation prize, we have been informed its leader is “personally” in favour.

The parliamentary debate on the referendum has also spotlighted another interesting matter.

The utterances of a number of MPs are in stark contrast to the manner they speak and act in private. Well, they are very careful in order not to prejudice what’s left of their political career. It is clear that consistency is a value that is not appreciated in the House.

As matters stand, the state in Malta decided way back in 1975 that divorce is to be available only to those who have access to foreign jurisdictions. In respect of all others, the Maltese state decided there should be no access to divorce. A yes vote on May 28 will remove the Maltese state from the equation and will grant the opportunity to each and every individual to take his/her own decisions in the light of his/her beliefs and values.

The position of those who do not accept divorce is protected as no one will ram divorce down their throats. But they will also be in such a position that they will no longer be able to impose “their values” on others.

(published on Saturday, April 30, 2011)