Ministers' allowances was an administrative mess

The payment of an allowance equivalent to a proposed higher rate of MPs' honoraria to ministers and parliamentary secretaries was an administrative mess for which someone must be held responsible.

The mess on the salaries of ministers and parliamentary secretaries is not the Prime Minister’s own doing, of course. But this means that someone failed him badly and he has to take action against whoever it was.

As I see it, there were two separate decisions on ministers’ pay packet and MPs’ honoraria taken after the electoral victory of 2008.

The first decision was that ministers should be paid their salaries over and above the honoraria they received as MPs. I am in total agreement with this decision, not only for the reasons given by the Prime Minister. From experience, I know that when one became a minister, one had to give up all the income from his job or private practice for the difference between a minister’s salary and an MP’s honorarium. This made little sense.

In my days, I used to get some Lm3,500 as an MP and this was upped to some Lm7,000 when I became a minister – meaning I had to give up my private practice for Lm3,500 or thereabouts. Of course, I am speaking of 1987 money, but the point is still the same. Becoming a minister meant being given enormous responsibilities without being adequately compensated.

The other decision was to raise the level of the honorarium paid to MPs – a decision about which the Opposition was to be consulted. It seems that although it was very much aware of this decision – whatever it now says – the Opposition was never officially consulted about the proposed new level of the honorarium paid to MPs.

Meanwhile, the Treasury started paying an allowance to ministers and parliamentary secretaries (but not to the Speaker or to the Leader of the Opposition) above their normal salary and equivalent to the new proposed level of MP honorarium that was never implemented in the case of all other MPs! This incredible administrative mess made it to the light of public scrutiny (by coincidence or design) at a time when the rise for the cost of living was set at just €1.16 – something that has nothing to do with the two decisions taken almost two years before.

Humiliating as it was, the decision to ask ministers and parliamentary secretaries to refund the difference between the actual honorarium and the proposed higher level of honorarium was the decent thing to do in the circumstances.

But the Prime Minister was left carrying the can. He and the Minister of Finance are politically responsible for this mess.

The least he can do now is to ferret out who led the administration into this mess and take disciplinary measures against whoever is administratively responsible for it.

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Alfred Galea
Mikey, it was "hidden" in the budget, it was passed by the house on a partisan vote. Make yourself familiar with what actually happened. As for your "PL and PN taking us for a ride", on this issue you're wrong, on everything else, you're right.
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Joe, I think you got it wrong. The PL MPs did not refuse it outright. Some of them have declared that they will donate it to some charity organisation. My argument is they should have not even discussed about taking it. And certainily there was no vote of confidence tabled against this issue. I think both the Pn and the Pl are taking us for a ride on this issue.
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Alfred Galea
Mikey, they did.
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Maureen Attard
Mur emnek, Dr. Falzon. Mela hsiebtuna ta' subajna f'halqna, jew inkella ghadna fi zmien Mintoff, meta dan kien ihallina fl-injuranza biex ma nifmu xejn, kif kien isir fl-imghoddi. Ghalxejn tiggieldu bejnietkom ghas-siggu parlamentari u ghalxejn taccettaw bil-ferha il-kariga ta' ministru jew xi kariga ohra. Taf li llum qedghin fis-sena 2010 hux u ghalhekk ma ghadx hawn nies boloh kif tpinguhom. Nafu li mhux veru kull min jilhaq ministru jew xi haga ohra jitlef l-impieg tieghu ta' qabel ghax nafu wkoll per ezempju Micelli and Associates jew Curmi and Borg Advocates, jew Dingli and Sons u 69 isem iehor, u qliegh jibqa diehel xorta wahda, plus l-onorarja ta' €600.
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If the oppostion was not in cahoots with the Govt on this issue, they would have refused outright the honoraria or any other form of increase to show the public that THEY really feel the pulse of the people. Most importantly they would have tabled a vote of no confidence in the Govt. It might not have passed but it would have shown to the people they really are on their side... but no they chose to play tiddle winks with the Govt as to when and how they were informed about the issue....
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Why should not the PM take the blame. If he was badly advised, so what? He should have had enough sense to see the political impact of such a decision especially in the hard times that Malta is in. I accept that Ministers should be adequately compensated. Take it from any political angle that you like, the way the PM handled this crisis simply shows that he is not the right person for the job. This PM is an expert at washing his hands and getting others do the dirty work for him. Nice to see you helping him wash his hands. Time's up, mate!
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Good spin. Points missing: drajna ncaqalqu l-lasti. The timing is just after the election. Those elected knew as candidates what was the honoraria and also the ministers and secretaries knew beforehand what was the income for the posts. The timing is just when everybody else has been asked to pay freeze. weekly income of 1.16 euro a bad joke. The Gonzi stated that he is going for a small cabinet implied the opposite of the exorbitant expenditure/honoraria. One has to point out also the meagre difference between the ministers' pay and the parliamentary secretaries pay..another gimmick. to make the number of ministers look small. the pro rata number of members of the cabinet to the population is extravagant and add insult to injury when you see the amounts being paid from public coffers. As an old minister you should have stated any other fringe benefits as a minister I mean the unofficial ones. Din id-darba l-gaffa hi kbira u enormi minn kull aspett. U l-ohra li hadd ma hu qed jghid dirett hi li issa mhux il-parlament ghandu d-dritt li jhallas imma il-kabinett. Din ma tezisti mkien. Il-kabinett jiddeciedi imma l-parlament li japprova specjalment meta tigi ghal money bills. You know better.
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Mr.Falzon, if I were you I would dig a big hole and hide in it. 1. We all know that you are a Gov't mouthpiece. 2. Nobody put a gun to your head and forced you to become a Minister. 3. Do you really think we will believe that you lost money due to being appointed Minister. 4. Perhaps you should have accounted for the monies you recieved as Chairman for the Water Services Corp, when the people saw the light and did not vote for you. My final observation. Maybe we should take a collection to make up for the monies you lost and if there's any more funds left, buy you a clown's outfit so you can eran extra money.
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Trying to make emmands for past criticism Mr Falzon? Give us a break and keep building apartments with visual effects. "The least he can do now is to ferret out who led the administration into this mess and take disciplinary measures against whoever is administratively responsible for it" Do you sincerely believe gonzi was led up the garden path, do you sincerely believe what you wrote.
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[In my days, I used to get some Lm3,500 as an MP and this was upped to some Lm7,000 when I became a minister – meaning I had to give up my private practice for Lm3,500 or thereabouts.] How rich of Perit Falzon to come up with such info. He might have come over as more of an honest (!) man had he begged forgiveness for building Busietta Gardens looking as having two storeys on one side but actually having much more than that on the other. Such falsehood will never be forgiven or forgotten by people this side of senility or downright dementia. Perit Falzon could do worse than hide from the public eye and forget all about the political field where he has made a terrible fiasco to the great chagrin of his mother and other relatives who had traditionally belonged to the MLP. Kikinu was a total failure in politics and it is now too late for him to try to make amends with a party that has actually rejected him or to indirectly though not so skilfully seek to humiliate the Gonz so late in the day."But the Prime Minister was left carrying the can. He and the Minister of Finance are politically responsible for this mess." Why does not Kikinu spill the beans and tell us what he knows about who is responsible for the mess if not the incompetent Gonz and his equally inefficient cronies?
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Hallina sur Falzon trid minghalik TITNEJJEK bin nies vera li meta sirt ministru taparsi TLAQT mix xoghol pero ix xoghol tieghek ta perit bdew jghamlulek periti ohrajn SHAB mal FIRM tieghek u il flus tieghek XORTA baqaw dehlin issa hekk dawn il MP tallum hafna minnhom ghandhom FIRMS li ikunu qedin jghamlulhom xogholhom u xorta sehmu ikun diehel specjalment ikunu AVUKATI l-uniku li jistaw forsi naqsu mil FLUS huma it tobba Ghalhekk li qed ghid GONZI huwa kollu HRAFA li naqsu mil QLIEH taghhom u irid ikollok WICCEK BLA ZEJT BHAL MA GHANDU GONZI U SHABU IL MP NAZJONALISTI BIEX LIN NIES JIGU JAGHTUHOM 1 ewro u 16 CENTS zieda ta gholi tal hajja u ghalihom jiehdu 600 ewro fil gimgha ma nafx kif ghandek il WICC TOST TIGI TITHAQ QUDDIEM LI SCREEN Dr GONZI bdik id dahqa SARKASTIKA li ghandek hawn RUXMATA partitarji Nazjonalisti xhin jarawk fuq it tv TQABBADHOM ID DARDIR
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Joseph Sant
LOL is this an exercise in damage control? Pure spin Mr Falzon - and very unconvincing at that!
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"The least he can do now is to ferret out who led the administration into this mess and take disciplinary measures against whoever is administratively responsible for it." I have never read that the PM had complained during the two and a half years that he was receiving the increases, so I find it hard to believe that the whole thing was an administrative mess.
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Joseph Pellicano
Dr falzon do not try to find excuses for this stupid gonzipn,we know that you are still on of them. If he have any decency left, he should resign. I hope and pray that the Maltese people will come to their senses because slowly its becoming like TUNISIA
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Alfred Galea
[What worries me even more is that we never had a decent oppostion for the PN, even more so now on this hot potato since the PL are in cahoots with the PN.] @Mike Rizzo......can you elaborate on that please?? And please remember there were salary increases and honoraria....hope you know the difference.
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A very succint analysis of the issue which has somehow been absent in the miles of newsprint devoted to this issue. I am in total agreement with the points raised by Mr Falzon except for one issue. I would not call it an administrative mess but I would call it a constitutional mess. When the Cabinet decided to start pocketing the parliamentary honorarium at a rate superior to other M.P.'s without parliament's approval, then, we have gone back to the days prior to the Boston Tea Party. And that is the real issue and not how much money M.P.'s and ministers are getting. Low pay in public office is not in the public interest but the government has made such a mess of the issue that it will take some courage to tackle the issue again. As I have stated elsewhere, it would have been greatly preferable to have increased ministerial salaries and parliamentary honoraria from day one instead. J. Ellis.
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Dr. Falzon, no amount of turn arounds and twisting of words will hide the fact that the people are not happy at all to hear these kind of things. What worries me more is on the same day the Nationalist Party won the Dr. Gonzi, as Prime Minister warned us of the storm (the then financial crisis) looming towards us and advsiing us that we have to be cautious on how the Maltese Govt spends his money.. Well he really showed us how with this law as you well said after the electoral victory (if one can call it that). What worries me even more is that we never had a decent oppostion for the PN, even more so now on this hot potato since the PL are in cahoots with the PN. I wonder how many seconds it took for this law to be passed through parliament!!!!!
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Alfred Galea
[In my days, I used to get some Lm3,500 as an MP and this was upped to some Lm7,000 when I became a minister – meaning I had to give up my private practice for Lm3,500 or thereabouts.] Mr. Falzon......you DIDN'T HAVE to do anything you DIDN'T WANT to.....and please do not try to tell us that you did it to serve your country....you did it for your own benefit and nobody else's. As I see it, there should be a salary for the PM, one for the leader of the oppositon, one for the speaker, one for the ministers and one for the MPs. Never mind this bullshit about honoraria and other perks. Then, those who reu for office would know beforehand whether they want to "serve their country" or not. As for "with peanuts you get monkeys", in Malta, the way the system is right now, you'll always get monkeys, coz that's all there are.
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Lino Camilleri
Idahaqx sur Falzon. Ghidilna raguni wahda ghala tiggieldu biex tigu eletti fil parlament mela. Min hu dak l-iblah li jaf li ser jitlef biex imur ghal politika. Wara kollox dawn l-affarijiet tkunu tafuhom. Hadd ma hu iblah ta. Tkomplux tirredikolaw lill poplu meta titkelmu b'dan il mod. Wara kollox jekk il kaxxa ta malta tiflah tohrog il flus aktar allura dawn ghandhom imorru ghand min verament ghandu bzonnhom ghax dawn ukoll ghandom dritt jghixu bhalkom. Ara tqabilx il hajja ta xi ministru w il-familja tieghu ma ta xi haddiem semplici w il-familja tieghu. Insomma nahseb taf xi trid nghid m'hemx ghalfejn inkompli.
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Prosit DR Falzon!