Electoral proposals worth considering

The Nationalist Party released an electoral manifesto last week that features 540 proposals. Labour hasn’t published one yet, but Prime Minister Robert Abela claimed the Labour Party has 1,000 election promises to unveil — a thousand ideas we might as well add to the list of 2017 pledges which should have been completed before he called an election.

Rather than try to make sense of either Party’s pledges, The Shift decided to look at the proposals put forward last week by non-governmental organisations.

Aditus – making Malta a fairer and more just society

Human rights NGO Aditus published a 28-page document that puts forward a number of proposals the organisation believes “will contribute to making Malta a fairer and more just society”.

It contains 37 proposals, including recommendations for regulating political party financing and for the public disclosure of donations made to political parties. There are also recommendations for strengthening the rule of law in Malta, a topic the leaders of the two main parties have yet to publicly address at their rallies.

Aditus’ rule of law proposals call for a nationwide consultation process to enact constitutional reforms, and for a clear commitment to address the outstanding issues highlighted by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission and the European Commission’s rule of law report. The recommendations put forward by the public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia also need to be “effectively taken on board”, and “the process must be public and transparent” for any real change to take effect.

Other suggestions made by Aditus include the strengthening of institutions, commitments to a long term and fairer asylum management strategy, reforms to the process of citizenship by naturalisation, and a more efficient justice system. Further proposals call for a serious commitment towards gender equality, sexual health, reproductive rights and LGBTIQ+ rights.

The adoption of the recommendations by the public inquiry board is listed in the Nationalist Party manifesto, including the introduction of unexplained wealth orders, but we have yet to see whether this proposal will be included in the Labour Party’s list of 1,000 pledges.

Malta Union of Teachers – addressing current challenges and outlining a vision

The Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) put forward its proposals to all political parties at a press conference last Thursday. Their document, entitled ‘Malta Education’, outlines 60 proposals that address the challenges currently faced by the education sector as understood by the union, while offering a vision for education over the coming years.

The document starts by proposing to initiate discussions to “explore whether the Directorate for Educational Services within the Ministry of Education and Sport should be transformed into an entity that falls under the structures of the public sector”.

The proposals address what appear to be important issues, including a change to research-based decision making, identifying the reasons why the education sector no longer attracts young people, and a call for measures to determine why educators are leaving the profession.

The union also wants to transform the Directorate for Quality and Standards within the Ministry into an autonomous entity in order to safeguard quality and standards in education, doing away with the existing situation where the employer and regulator are housed in the same offices within the same ministry.

Finally, the MUT plan highlights the need for a “genuine effort” to equip laboratories, classrooms, and schools that have been forgotten with modern facilities, while eliminating the disparity in technological resources between state, church and independent schools.

Malta Police Union – better working conditions, environment, and professionalism

The Malta Police Union published 28 proposals which, if implemented, would “ameliorate the working conditions, the working environment and the professionalism of the members of the Police Force”.

They call for new laws mandating a revision of police pensions every three years, as well as paid private health and life insurance, opportunities for scholarships, and proposals to improve the administrative structure of the police force, which the union describes as being “top-heavy”.

The union also recommends that the current 48 hour maximum limit for arrests should be increased to 72 hours in serious cases like armed robbery or homicide, and that the 6 hour limit to inform the duty Magistrate should be increased to 12 hours for all cases.

The proposal to increase arrest time limits from 48 to 72 hours was also part of the list of bills the Opposition presented to parliament last month, based on the recommendations of the inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, but which was defeated when government MPs voted against it.

                           
                               
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