Gonzi refuses to publish cohabitation bill draft before referendum

Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando asks PM to reveal cohabitation bill before divorce referendum.

Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando has asked Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to publish the draft cohabitation bill he intends presenting to parliament, before the 28 May referendum on divorce.

He was meeting Gonzi with Moviment Iva members Deborah Schembri, former Nationalist minister Michael Falzon, Labour MP Evarist Bartolo and Alternattiva Demokratika chairperson Michael Brigigulio at the PN headquarters.

“I am appealing to you to publish the bill for public scrutiny in the interest of the public having an informed choice of what awaits couples who cannot remarry after separation, but wish to cohabit,” Pullicino Orlando said.

Pullicino Orlando has claimed President George Abela has demanded to see the draft cohabitation bill being planned by the government, which he is reviewing for his scrutiny. The bill is one of several pledges from a 1998 PN electoral manifesto that was never followed on in subsequent manifestos, and only announced late in 2010 after Pullicino Orlando submitted his draft divorce bill.

“It is very unlikely that there will be a referendum on a cohabitation bill after the divorce referendum,” Pullicino Orlando told Gonzi. “So people should know what’s in store from now.”

Critics of the divorce bill claim divorce is not part of the legislature’s electoral mandate, but Pullicino Orlando has argued that neither is cohabitation.

In his reaction, Gonzi expressed his disagreement with publishing the draft bill and said that the cohabitation law he is proposing was unrelated to divorce.

“We shouldn’t bring something that has wider consequences and effects such as cohabitation in the divorce debate. We shouldn’t distract from the issue of divorce, which is crystal clear to everyone.

“I cannot understand how the pro divorce movement has made this link with the cohabitation bill, because cohabitation does not involve marriage,” Gonzi said.

Pullicino Orlando had previously said that President George Abela’s comments on cohabitation made during his speech at the opening of the 2008 legislature were being used as a basis for the introduction of the cohabitation law. “Similarly to the divorce bill, no government has an electoral mandate for a cohabitation law. A mandate is not given through a legislature’s opening speech.”

The press were not allowed to ask questions following the event, but were invited to submit any questions in writing by email through official channels.

He was meeting Gonzi with Moviment Iva members Deborah Schembri, former Nationalist minister Michael Falzon, Labour MP Evarist Bartolo and Alternattiva Demokratika chairperson Michael Brigigulio at the PN headquarters.

“I am appealing to you to publish the bill for public scrutiny in the interest of the public having an informed choice of what awaits couples who cannot remarry after separation, but wish to cohabit,” Pullicino Orlando said.

Pullicino Orlando has claimed President George Abela has demanded to see the draft cohabitation bill being planned by the government, which he is reviewing for his scrutiny. The bill is one of several pledges from a 1998 PN electoral manifesto that was never followed on in subsequent manifestos, and only announced late in 2010 after Pullicino Orlando submitted his draft divorce bill.

“It is very unlikely that there will be a referendum on a cohabitation bill after the divorce referendum,” Pullicino Orlando told Gonzi. “So people should know what’s in store from now.”

Critics of the divorce bill claim divorce is not part of the legislature’s electoral mandate, but Pullicino Orlando has argued that neither is cohabitation.

In his reaction, Gonzi expressed his disagreement with publishing the draft bill and said that the cohabitation law he is proposing was unrelated to divorce.

“We shouldn’t bring something that has wider consequences and effects such as cohabitation in the divorce debate. We shouldn’t distract from the issue of divorce, which is crystal clear to everyone.

“I cannot understand how the pro divorce movement has made this link with the cohabitation bill, because cohabitation does not involve marriage,” Gonzi said.

Pullicino Orlando had previously said that President George Abela’s comments on cohabitation made during his speech at the opening of the 2008 legislature were being used as a basis for the introduction of the cohabitation law. “Similarly to the divorce bill, no government has an electoral mandate for a cohabitation law. A mandate is not given through a legislature’s opening speech.”

Asked by MaltaToday for a reaction to Gonzi’s refusal, Dr Deborah Schembri said: “I was surprised at how the Prime Minister stated that he has no intention to publish the cohabitation law before the referendum.”

She said that the pro-divorce lobby had made that request in the light of how the upcoming cohabitation laws will certainly affect those couples who are separated today and will wish to marry.

“They need to know what will happen should the referendum return a ‘no’ result,” she said.

She also questioned how would the cohabitation laws apply to those couples who are cohabiting while also being technically married to previous partners.

“Our laws currently provide certain rights to married people that, should divorce not be introduced, will keep on applying to them, such as maintenance or fidelity. If another law comes into the picture that might allow the same rights, or others, to couples who wish to cohabit, how will these clash?” she questioned.

She also referred to Gonzi’s position that the cohabitation laws will apply to a wide swathe of relationships and individuals. “Despite what he said about divorce and cohabitation being different, I am sure that that it will also affect those cohabiting couples post-separation.”

“The draft already exists – we know it does – so why should it be hidden?” she insisted. “What is there about it that the pubic shouldn’t know about?”

Speaking to MaltaToday, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando added that by refusing to publish the draft bill, the government is not giving the public the full picture on what they are going to vote upon on 28 May.

He referred to figures published by Discern which found that by 2015, there will been as many as 35,000 individuals who suffer marital breakdown. “This means that there are potentially as many as 70,000 couples which stand to be affected by this.”

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Dan Gonzipn x'jahseb li hu ? Fuq kollox bicca siggu ghandu bhala maggoranza, jekk ghandu bhal issa. Vera prova ohra ta' kemm il-poter u l-arroganza sfrenata qedin f'mohh gonzipn. X'jigifieri ma jghidx lill-pubbliku x'fiha din il-ligi tal-coabitazzjoni. Sinjal li ghandu x'jahbi. U li ghandu x'jahbi jmur kontra il-Kinisja ghax kieku diga zvela kollox. Imma hekk jaqbillu. Id-divorzju ma jaddiex, bi qbil mal-Knisja u wara sabiex jerga jakkwista il-voti mitlufa ta' dawk in-nazzjonalist li jridu id-divorzju, jzerzaq din il-ligi u l-Knisja, ibqaw zguri, ma tlissienx kelma li hi kelma. Is-sitwazzjoni hi cara daqs il-kristal. Ghal Gonzipn l-aqwa li ma jghaddiex id-dvorzju.
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Skużawni daqsxejn, imma x'tippretendu minn eks-President tal-Azzjoni Kattolika u nipotino ta' Mikiel, il-Gran Kavallier tal-Knisja Kattolika?!
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u dan JPO kif qed jitlob lil Gonzi. Mela dan mux wiehed minnom? jew tassew huma maqsumin?
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Do you think that a cohabitation law will actually make it through Parliament after all this? Wishful thinking, I say.
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THERE WAS A MAN FROM THE CITY, WHO FOR SINNERS HAD LOTS OF PITY, HE PUSHED THIS NEW LAW, SET FIRMLY HIS JAW, AND WROTE TO POGGUTI A DITTY !!!!
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Luke Camilleri
Just do it Dr. Gonzi before some back-bencher beats you to it !
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"We shouldn’t distract from the issue of divorce, which is crystal clear to everyone" is what Dr Gonzai said. So now the referendum questiopn is not fuzzy anymore but very clear, as indeed it has alkways been. But again politicians say whatever suits the very moment!! It appears that the present this situation with the divorce referndum and co-habitation bill will haunt Gonzi and his party for a long time especially if the NO camp wins the referndum vote, considering also that the prodivorce lobby will always increase with the secular influence over time.
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"We shouldn’t distract from the issue of divorce, which is crystal clear to everyone." Really? If this is true it's quiet an achievment see the way some people are trying to confuse the issues, especially by: 1.trying to make people believe that in the referendum people are being asked if they are in favour of divorce or not when the real question is if one is in favour or agianst of a divorce law 2. Turning a civil right question into a religious question 3. Creating a doubt if voting 'yes' is a sin or not "cohabitation does not involve marriage." But does it not have the same, or worse effect on children as divorce? Does it not, in most cases, serve as a kind of uncontracted marriage?
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La il-knisja qed taghmel krocjata kontra id-divorzju, jien nhoss li din ghanda tistaqsi lill Gonzipn x'fiha din il-ligi tal-pogguti qabel ma n-nies jmorru jivvutaw. Jew issa il-Knisja sabiex ma tiksiriex ma Gonzipn ha taccettha. Addio Kristu iva, Divorzju le. Dalwaqt il-Knisja tohrog bi Kristu iva u l-pogguti ukoll.
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Count your days, Gonz, they are getting fewer.
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@Konstanty If you don't like what is happening in Malta, why not go back home or bettter still, MYOB.
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Gonzi is after another of the PN speciality : TERINATA. He is supposedly presenting the electorate with an alternative to divorce !!. Unfortunately he does not want anyone to know what's in store in this supposed bill. He wants to keep everyone guessing and maybe some fools would reason,"well, I will vote no and then we'll be given a chance to legally cohabit". Well, don't be gullible. Can anyone trust this man?. Haw many promises has he failed to keep ?. No sir. I'm sorry. I'm not that gullible to swallow the hook, line and sinker!!. Go and tell it to the clergy and the nuns. By the way, way back in 1931 Lord Strickland, supported by his daughter, Ms Mabel, suggested disenfranchising priests !!!.
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JPO, as you can see Gonzi is going to keep you in suspension because he hasnt got the Balls to face you and show you whats in the bill. You see whom you are supporting. I think its time that you move on and form your own party or look elsewhere.
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Paul Sammut
The PM simply hasn't got any any testicular fortitude. Even KMB though often naive showed more courage.
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As to the Mr.PM , don't worry ,you are in power ,till next general election, What has a beginning has an END.
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A quarter of polish children are malnourished, and the goverment finds money to church monk nuns to teach religion. but don't find the money to give lunch for children in schools- when a quarter of polish kids are malnourished. shame on you. If I was you I don't would prefer to think before I speak about such. write to your goverment to give a free lunch to school , so many malnourished children. Read read and read
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konstanty ,that a big shame of your country. you try and try to resolve yoru own seperated/divorced parents, that is why you are against divorce, cause you are angry for your parents. so you are getting it against divorce. NO. it's not divorce. its one of your parenst who broke the mariage and done what have done,Blame one of your parents or both.
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http://www.concordatwatch.eu/showsite.php?org_id=931 Poland gives land and money to Church while a quarter of its children go hungry The Polish Government can afford to subsidise Church influence in every corner of society, from salaries for the chaplains in the civil service, to holiday pay for the monks and nuns teaching religion in state schools. Yet it is unable to provide free school lunches for Polish children, a quarter of whom are malnourished. This is an itemised list of state subventions to the Church for 2008.
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@konstanty I find adults with imaginary friends amusing
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In Poland, I'm trying to collect signatures on the letter: Open letter to Mr. Dr Lawrence Gonzi Prime Minister, of Malta Republic Dear Sir. As countrymen Servant of God Pope John Paul II, we would like to thank you so much for the tenacious defense of moral order and the foundations of our civilization. We want to assure you of the solidarity of our nation and the people of Malta at that particular time when in the legislation of the Republic the Christian nature of marriage as an indissoluble relation of man and woman is being undermined. We believe strongly that such thanks to your attitude this foundation, the cornerstone of a healthy society will be saved in Malta. May the Good Lord has shed light of the Maltese on the entire Europe and has attracted our erring continent back to Himself. http://www.petycje.pl/petycja/6854/list_otwarty_do_pana_dr_lawrence_gonzi_premiera_republiki_malty_.html
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I wonder how! I wonder whyyy!