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[LIVE] Follow Labour's mass meeting in Gozo here
Labour leader Joseph Muscat says Gozo mass meeting 'will go down in history as the day in which the road to civil liberties started'.
13 January 2013, 12:00am
Live-blog from the first mass meeting of the 2013 campaign.
Labour is in Gozo where it will hold its first mass meeting - REFRESH this blog here.
16:18 Joseph Muscat's speech ends here. Joining him on the stage are his wife Michelle, and the party's deputy leaders Louis Grech and Toni Abela.
Thank you for following us live from Victoria, this live-blog ends here. Labout's mass meeting next Sunday will be held in Rabat (Malta).
16:15 And to give more colour to Muscat's speech, the sun and the rainbow have just come out.
16:10 Muscat said that a Labour government must also work hard to eradicate discrimination from the island. He said that when 40 years ago a Labour government decriminalised homosexuality, it was the first step towards a fairer society.
"But we have now waited too long to introduce civil unions. Because same sex couples are families as well and we must help all families," he said.
Muscat added that he understood that there were many who thought that it would be difficult for some Gozitans to accept civil unions between same sex couples. He said that it was for this reason that Labour held its first mass meeting in Gozo: "Because from here we will build our road towards civil liberties."
A bellicose Muscat said that "40 years from today, history book will talk about this day".
16:04 The Labour leader said that the PN was the government who always said 'No'. He said that when he was still an MEP he worked to see the removal of VAT from the car registration tax and the removal of tax from satellite.
"Just like they said 'No' then and I said 'Yes', they are doing the same with tariff reductions. And I say yes, we will reduce the water and electricity bills because I am convinced that this plan is achievable".
To chants of 'Viva l-Labour' and Muscat added that he swore that under his watch, "these power stations, factories of cancer and asthma, are closed down. I won't be responsible for any more children falling sick with respiratory diseases. Even if it is the last thing I do."
15:57 "We have shown with facts the crucial step forward we must make. And this will be done hand in hand with the private sector. Our energy roadmap must be done with the private. It is time for a prudent government, allowing private sectors to take part.
"Look at the reactions of others to our plan. It was one of sheer panic. They reacted with first saying it was impossible to now saying that it can be done. Then they said there would be no interest from the private, and suddenly they are saying there is a private company interested in their project."
Muscat said the PN's attitude risked giving a bad reputation to Malta: "It gives the impression that the current government doesn't trust the private sector. I have one message to the private: If others don't trust you, don't worry thank them and come with us. Because we trust you. And I have so much faith in the private sector that I pledge to be personally responsible for this project."
15:52 "We pledge to increase utility bills. We will be helping the middle class families who cannot keep up with today's expenses, no matter how much hard they work. This is the middle class we are talking about. This is how we will be building: a middle class that means work and prosperity."
Muscat said that while "others" spent €80 million to build a new parliament, a Labour government would be giving back the Maltese €77 million from utility bills savings.
15:44 Muscat says he knows Gozitans well and he "feels what Gozitans feel". According to the Labour leader, the Gozitans are yearning for a change in direction. "We know you cannot openly show your wishes. We understand the scaremongering you are going through. We know that there are more Gozitans who are following us from home, because they cannot be here with us for fear something will happen to them if others come to know they support us. We know about you: don't worry, you'll be alone in the voting booth and you can vote for your change."
Our battle cry is "work in Gozo for Gozitans". He said this will be created without hindering environment but by also strengthening the connectivity between the two islands. "A Labour government would study all possibilities including the tunnel. Yes, the PN administration talked about it, but forgot all about it in its Budget."
Muscat added that all decisions regarding Gozo will be taken with the Gozitans for the Gozitans.
15:42 Welcome to our live-blog from Victoria in Gozo. Labour leader Joseph Muscat has just arrived, following a visit to the Vella family in Comino. It's raining, but the crowd is huge. What really stands out are the white placards and flags carried by the supporters. Gone are the red flags replaced with white placards with the words 'Malta for all of us'.
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