The government has appointed Mario Farrugia Borg, a former PN local councillor who turned Labour in 2013 as Malta’s High Commissioner for Australia.
Farrugia Borg, 50, from Qormi, has no real diplomatic experience. After a limited time serving in the private secretariat of disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, he was sent to Melbourne as Consul General for the State of Victoria two years ago.
The consulate is a sub-office of a diplomatic mission responsible mainly for administrative work, including the issue of passports and visas.
Born in the traditional Roman Catholic faith, Farrugia Borg converted to Islam after marrying his Moroccan wife.
Over the years, he became an ardent ‘activist’ for Islam in Malta and was a prominent member of the Islamic community on the island.
Following the 2013 election when Labour was swept into power, Muscat employed Farrugia Borg into his private secretariat as his ‘Muslim community consultant’.
This move was publicly praised by the local Imam, Mohammed El-Sadi, who said it was a particularly important step for the recognition of the Islamic community in Malta.
The new High Commissioner for Australia had also contested the MEP elections on behalf of Labour, on the personal invitation of Muscat, who wanted to lure Muslim voters. Farrugia Borg got only 1,200 votes from the 260,000 cast nationally.
During a recent ‘grilling’ in Parliament over his nomination, Farrugia Borg admitted that he had no diplomatic experience as he spent most of his working life working at a bank and at Muscat’s secretariat.
Both Labour and PN MPs on the committee endorsed his nomination.
In his post at Malta’s High Commission in Canberra, Farrugia Borg will succeed Charles Muscat. The latter was appointed in 2013 after serving as the President of Malta’s Labour Party in Australia for a number of years.