My campaign centers around four main issues which I believe to be of overriding concern to the majority of us.
THE PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN IN THE LABOUR FORCE
The participation rate of women in the labour market in Malta is still too low in comparison with the rest of the European Union member States. This low participation is attributable to a variety of factors.
Unfortunately, there are still a number of obstacles that women face at the workplace. These obstacles are aggravated in the case of married women owing to family responsibilities they must shoulder over and above their occupation. Although the gender bias has improved in the past decades, I believe that much remains to be done to improve the life of women who remain in employment and encourage more women – especially housewives – to join or rejoin the labour force.
- To encourage diversity and equity in the work place and promote more family-friendly measures to encourage the participation of women in the labour market.
- To provide a working environment free from discrimination and sexual harassment.
- To develop a healthier and safer working environment.
- To introduce and promote the concept of job sharing and teleworking.
- To strengthen legislation promoting women right’s and support campaigns
through NGOs and government organisations to protect basic humans rights.
The issue of illegal immigrantion is high on both the national agenda and, increasingly, on the agenda of the European Union. The ever-growing numbers of immigrants reaching our shores is certainly a cause for concern. Malta cannot shoulder the burden of sheltering and caring for these unfortunates alone. The phenomenon is affecting us financially, economically, socially and culturally.
- Few would deny that these victims deserve protection from persecution in their country of origin. Nonetheless, we must strike a balance between the humanitarian aspect and the burden their presence here is proving to be on our scant resources.
- Open centres and buildings used to accommodate illegal immigrants should be well monitored and maintained.
- Care should be taken to ensure that welfare benefits, cash and non-cash given in aid to illegal immigrants are not abused of.
While the burden-sharing agreement is a clear indication that the EU states are committed to assist Malta, we need to work hard to obtain tangible results. This agreement must be complimented with an adequate financial assistance and support from all EU states, and special efforts must be made to obtain Libyan co-operation in controlling irregular emigration from North African shores.
The environment is one of the most important issues that need to be addressed. Both governmental and non governmental organisations need to continue working together to achieve a high percentage of compliance from all in order to prevent the further deterioration of our surroundings. The Government has already put into force EU directives aimed at maintaining a healthy environment. As a health employee I fully agree with measures that are being taken to reduce CO2 emissions and to achieve the levels recommended by the EU.
- Increase environmental awareness amongst students in primary, secondary and tertiary education.
- Introduce stricter regulations requiring factories, small- and medium-sized enterprises, hotels and other establishments to implement eco-friendly measures.
- Enforce proper disposal of recyclable waste and penalise cases of non adherence.
- Encourage people to reduce use of fossil fuel through the introduction fiscal incentives intended to promote alternative energy sources both industrially and in the home.
- Encourage employers to apply for EU funds to benefit from such schemes and incentives.
- Promote organic foods and local foods.
- Promote the use of bio-diesel and bio-petrol.
The standard of living workers are enjoying today should be preserved and improved. Exploitation of workers, mainly by employing illegal immigrants for cheap labour, must be checked and harsh penalties should be imposed in cases of abuse.
- Work conditions in Malta should be at par with those enjoyed by workers in the other EU states.
- Workers must have the adequate working conditions and opportunities to encourage them to work not more than 40 hours a week.
- Take home pay should be sufficient to maintain a standard of living beyond the survival level, and in this regard the minimum wage should be periodically revised.
- Financial and psychological support must be easily available to all those workers who are facing redundancies or limited working opportunities.
A healthy society is the ultimate aim for all politicians, both on a local level and from EU governance. It is a known fact that citizens in good health produce more and therefore generate stability leading to a sound economy. In a country like ours where resources are limited investing in the health of our people is of the utmost importance. When dealing with health issues preventive measures rather than curative ones should take priority. Accessibility to all health services must never be hindered in any way. A state of the art hospital can only be a success story if complimented with highly motivated staff who delivers care efficiently, without restrictions.
- To have a health care system that is accountable and audited
- Preventive and primary care must be given priority
- A new administrative system should be implemented were waiting lists must be drastically reduced giving great focus on patients rights
- A National campaign on educating people on how to live a healthy life style should commence.
- Address the issue of shortage of hospital personnel especially professionals and find the right working environment to retain staff.