[WATCH] Daniel Micallef: Labour must remain at the forefront of national reforms

Labour Party deputy leader Daniel Micallef insists ‘change’ keeps the party relevant, and can only be achieved through the ‘needed decisions’

Labour Party deputy leader Daniel Micallef
Labour Party deputy leader Daniel Micallef

The Labour Party must remain at the forefront of national reforms, deputy leader Daniel Micallef said on Friday evening.

“Change keeps us relevant. We cannot stop changing and taking the decisions,” he said.

Micallef was speaking during the Labour Party’s general conference ‘Trust in our country’.

He said under the leadership of Robert Abela, the party, in government, has led major reforms across all sectors.

The PL deputy leader mentioned proposed amendments to Malta’s anti-abortion law announced by Health Minister Chris Fearne earlier this week.

Doctors will be able to terminate a pregnancy to safeguard the woman’s health and life in a legal amendment put forward by the government.

Under current circumstances doctors and the woman risk going to jail in such a circumstance. Medical professionals also risk losing their warrant.

“Some have told that it has always been that way, but for us that is not enough. The mother needs certainty that her life will not be put in risk,” he said.

“There will those who will try to scare, and there will also be misinformation,” Micallef warned those present.

He said “respect” must be at the centre of the conversation. “There will be different views, and we must respect them.”

The PL deputy leader said party leaders have always been at the receiving end of mudslinging by the “conservative establishment.”

“They did it with Pawlu Boffa, Dom Mintoff, Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, Alfred Sant, Joseph Muscat and now Robert Abela. That is why we must write our own history,” he said. “We need to recognise the good periods, and the not so good periods, but it must be us who write our story.”

He also paid tribute to late leader Mifsud Bonnici who died earlier this year. “When I was growing up, I used to hear about the difficult times of our country. Had it not been for that individual who led with principle, who modernised our party, the situation today would be very difficult.”

He said that sometimes in politics, one could lose sight of their goals. “Sometimes it can become difficult. It becomes worth it when you see the reforms we promised come into action. That is why we are in politics.”

Micallef also praised Abela and his administration for taking the “needed decisions.” “We saw it in the pandemic, on energy and fuel prices and in the Budget. We need to keep taking these hard decisions.”

He compared the situation to the one in the Nationalist Party. “The Opposition wants to take the credit in the good things, and not the blame in the bad ones. We saw it on the greylist and in gaming more recently.”

“Their mediocre level of debate is astounding,” Micallef said.

We must remain united – Chris Fearne

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne addressed delegates at the concluding stages of the conference, insisting the party must remain united in order for it to remain effective.

“The PN has become irrelevant. I do not say this with arrogance or lack of respect, but with sadness. It is irrelevant because it is divided, and when you are divided you cannot be an effective party, opposition or government,” he said.

Fearne said that the situation at the PN has become so dire that an NGO “which represents only itself”, referring to Reppublika, and an independent candidate, referring to Arnold Cassola, are making more “noise than the Opposition.”

“On the other hand, we are united and victorious, and we must remain close to the people and remain open to what they tell us,” he said. “We are a government for all Maltese and Gozitan citizens.”

He started his speech by paying tribute to the late PM Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici.

“When Mintoff stepped down, there were fears that the Labour Party would falter, but Mifsud Bonnici ensured the legacy lives on and now we have successful party that continues to enact change,” he said.

MPs Naomi Cachia and Randolph Debatista, former MP Anthony Agius Decelis, MEP Josianne Cutajar, and Antoinette Cefai also addressed the conference.

Prime Minister Robert Abela will be giving his address at the end of the conference on Saturday evening.