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[WATCH] Labour leader calls on Malta to unite ‘in a movement of love’

In Haz-Zabbar, Joseph Muscat calls out Simon Busuttil for pandering to stereotypes: ‘Your children are my children,’ he tells Malta’s southern residents

7 May 2017, 5:37pm
Last updated on 7 May 2017, 7:11pm
Labour leader Joseph Muscat, wife Michelle and deputy leader Chris Cardona (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)
Labour leader Joseph Muscat, wife Michelle and deputy leader Chris Cardona (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)
Labour mass meeting in Haz Zabbar
Standing before thousands gathered in Haz-Zabbar for Labour’s mass meeting on Day 7, Prime Minister and Labour leader Joseph Muscat called for “a united Malta”.

In a fiery speech delivered at Labour Avenue, Muscat called on Malta to unite behind the Labour Party, “a movement of love”.

“Your children are my children and I am proud of your children,” he said, taking Opposition leader Simon Busuttil to task over comments delivered earlier in the day during a political activity in Bormla.

Busuttil said that the community was afflicted by problems of drug abuse, social housing and single parents. Muscat argued that this comment pandered to stereotypes and encouraged a divided Malta.

“I will never accept anyone who calls out your children as being the ones on social benefits. Everyone has their problems and stereotypes have no place in this country. We have to show how people of influence were born from every area, sector and party in this country.”

Muscat said the best fight against hatred is love: “This is the movement of a united nation that fights hatred and treats everyone is equally.”

Labour leader Joseph Muscat putting his hand together in a heart for children who were following his speech (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)
Labour leader Joseph Muscat putting his hand together in a heart for children who were following his speech (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)
He said that the June 3 election would not be just a choice between ideas but also about the quality of life the electorate wanted to live.

“Do you want to halt progress or move forward? It’s between Joseph Muscat and Simon Busuttil.”

Muscat said he had “a Maltese dream”: “I have a dream… a Maltese dream, to see Malta as the best.”

He promised to continue sustaining the “new middle class that’s been reborn”.

“This is a movement born out of conviction… who doesn’t shy away from talking about matters which can be controversial. You know that we’ve given different communities their rights… because no love can be discriminated against.

“And whilst others abstained, we believe that civil unions should become equal marriage. Love is love and there should be no distinction.”

The choice has never been as clear as today, Muscat reiterated, as he recounted the work carried out by the Labour administration during the four years.

“We have the full energy to continue leading this country forward,” he said, adding that the electorate could immediately see that the Labour Party was coming forward with proposals, whilst void was reigning within the PN.

He tore the PN’s proposal – to grant €10,000 to couples who move to Gozo – to shreds, arguing that they couldn’t even explain how it would work or who would benefit.

To the contrary, Muscat added, the electorate knew how Labour’s pledges would work: “You know that we keep our word. I kept our word when we reduced utility bills, when we reduced taxes, increased pensions and stipends and gave free childcare services.

“We kept our words on this and so much more and you know we will keep our word on what we’re promising.”

He described the proposals are being “responsible” aimed at retaining the surplus – money which will be distributed back to families and businesses.

Targeting the young voters, Muscat said that youths were the “engine of this party” and the country, pledging zero taxes for the first two years in employment for those who obtain a Masters or PhD in their studies.

“Justice for all… prosperity with a purpose: this is what distributing wealth means,” he said, as he told pensioners of the increases that would be coming their way if Labour is elected for a second term.

To more applause, Muscat said that workers will be handed back the public holidays that fall on the weekend.

PL deputy leader Chris Cardona (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)
PL deputy leader Chris Cardona (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)
The meeting was also addressed by PL deputy leader Chris Cardona, who immediately launched an offensive against the PN leader. He told the boisterous crowd that if Simon Busuttil wanted to put Muscat in prison, “he will have to jail all of us”.

To chants of “Joseph! Joseph!”, Cardona continued by accusing Busuttil of having destroyed the Nationalist Party by going for “a coalition of confusion” – in reference to the Democratic Party’s decision, led by former PL MP Marlene Farrugia, to run on the PN ticket.

“[Busuttil calls it] a national front… this is fake news!” he said, to more cheers.

Telling his audience that the PN had described them as “drug addicts”, Cardona told them that the Labour government had instead worked on creating more jobs and attracting investment.

“A week has passed and we came before you with the first set of proposals. We stand before you, showing you that we are prepared and ready to continue governing.

“Whatever they say, the choice is clear: a choice between the credible and true leader that is Joseph Muscat and the person who personifies incompetence, Simon Busuttil.”

Earlier

Thousands of Labour supporters flocked to Haz-Zabbar for the party’s first mass meeting on a Sunday during this month’s electoral campaign, with many waving party flags and holding placards in support of their leader, Joseph Muscat.

The mass meeting was held in Labour Avenue, with the road literally packed with party faithful. Crowds have been gathering since early afternoon, for what can be described as a street party.

To chants of “the best time” (l-aqwa zmien), the crowd is fired up waiting for their leader’s message.