Published on February 20th, 2013 | by Ivan Martin0
Proposals Take Back Seat at SDM Proposal Conference
Billboards and drug scandals took centre stage at an electoral proposal conference held earlier today, organized by political student organization SDM (Studenti Demokristjani Maltin).
A modest crowd made up almost exclusively of SDM members and supporters filled the KSU common room for the ‘Electoral Proposals Conference’ organised by Christian-Democrats SDM. Karl Gouder (PN), Mario Mallia (AD) and Owen Bonnici (PL) were invited to “discuss each electoral programme in detail.”
Tasked with moderating the event, TV presenter Peppi Azzopardi opened with a discussion on recent PN and PL billboard campaigns. Dr Bonnici discussed his aesthetic reservations on painting the Prime Minister’s face blue, to which Mr Azzopardi quipped, “How’s that different from painting youths’ faces red and white?”
The conference slowly degenerated into a debate on party tenets as portrayed by billboard propaganda, fuelled by Azzopardi’s own concerns over a resemblance between the current PL campaign and the ‘Malta L’ ewwel u qabel kollox’ philosophy he claimed was prevalent in the “old Labour party”.
Talk then turned to tablet proposals for another sermon ad nauseam. While both Dr Gouder and Dr Bonnici seemed to agree on this proposal, disparaging comments from Dr Mallia offered a different element to a discussion that was otherwise indistinguishable from an episode of populist journal Xarabank.
Answering a question posed by insiteronline.com regarding the decision not to consult the Malta Union of Teachers on the tablet proposal, Dr Bonnici said, “We consulted the MUT on several of our proposals, such as ensuring greater security at schools. We should, however, have consulted the MUT on the tablet issue too. The way forward is through more open discussion with all concerned parties.”
For the next round of off-topic discussion, namely the PL’s recent drug scandal, Dr Bonnici defended his party’s position, claiming the reason the matter was not reported to the police was that members of the Labour Party club’s committee were “terrorized” by the whole affair. He quoted an article from The Times which indicated that allegations were “unfounded”.
“The Labour party had a moral obligation to investigate this matter and report it,” was Dr Gouder’s response to this. The conversation inevitably relapsed into a series of ‘he said, she said’ accusations.
In response to a question asked by insiteronline.com on the future of pensions, Dr Gouder said, “We will work on second pillar pensions in the next legislature; we are committed to tackling the issue and have already put forward a pension reform.”
Dr Mallia took the two parties to task for delaying these reforms, pointing out that both the Nationalist and Labour parties were insisting that second pillar pensions be dealt with ”later on”.
Answering a student question on housing, namely the 56,000 unoccupied properties on the island, Dr Mallia highlighted AD’s proposal to tax third properties, attributing high property prices to ”house hoarding”. “Usually, when supply increases, prices should decrease. But this is not the case in Malta, where property prices are shooting up,” he said. This proposal however was quickly shot down by Mr Azzopardi, who did not agree.
The conference forms part of a series of electoral events on campus organized by various organizations as well as KSU. Stay tuned for live updates and video coverage.