MPs discuss bill which will make Parliament more autonomous

The Parliament started to debate a Bill which will make the House of Representatives more autonomous. The Bill will hand in more power to the Speaker and have MPs remuneration established by an independent board. 

Parliament building in Valletta
Parliament building in Valletta

The first Parliament sitting after the Christmas recess took off with a debate regarding a bill aimed at making Parliament more autonomous.

While presenting the bill, Deputy Prime Minister, Louis Grech explained that this bill will make Maltese administration more democratic, modern and autonomous from the Government.

Explaining that through this bill, the Parliament will be reaching new heights in its political operations, Grech said that this was not aimed at conducting a fast change, but rather, reaching another milestone in a wide process.  

The bill will give more power to the Speaker of the House, including the recruitment of personnel and other administrative affairs. It also stipulates that the Speaker’s and MP’s remuneration is established by an independent board.

Deputy Prime Minister insisted that this bill can help in restoring the people’s faith in politics and politicians. He described the bill as a very good step forward, but added that there is still more that has to be done. Grech mentioned the fact that this bill does not dwell into the issue discussing whether MPs should be on full-time or part-time basis, as this will be addressed in separate discussions.

In his remarks, Nationalist MP Mario de Marco said that the mutual agreement on this bill is evident, but asked whether this bill was enough, “not to make a political statement or criticize, but to challenge us as politics.”

We should discuss how MPs can carry their duties better, de Marco added, while insisting on the need to distinguish between the executive and the legislative.

Opposition Parliamentary whip David Agius said that to ensure autonomy, Parliamentary committees should not have government majority.

“If we really want to be autonomous, government members should not be a majority in Parliament Committees. Autonomy means that the number of members of the Government and the Opposition should be equal,” Agius said.

He thanked all those, past and present MPs who have worked on this bill. 

Parliament adjournes. Discussions resume tomorrow.