Budget 2017: Cauchi and Thake have their say on party leaders’ upcoming reactions
Parliamentary sessions next week will be dominated by one thing, and one thing only: the Budget. One could be forgiven for thinking the subject that has dominated the last week has been exhausted, following the 141-page document presented by Minister Edward Scicluna on Monday, but the climax will be reached the week after.
Tomorrow, the Leader of the Opposition will present his reaction to the budget and the Prime Minister will make his reply the next day, on Tuesday. From that session onwards, practically taking up the the rest of October, Parliament will be discussing budget proposals, one section after another.
The Malta Independent on Sunday asked the two parties what they expect to hear from their political opponents.
Labour Party CEO Gino Cauchi said that Dr Busuttil’s speech will confirm the PN’s negativity, inconsistency and bitterness. On the other hand, PN Secretary-General Rosette Thake said the PN expects Joseph Muscat to explain what his vision for the country truly is.
What follows are their replies.
Gino Cauchi - Labour Party Chief Executive Officer
“Without a shred of doubt, we will witness a speech that will once again prove that Dr Busutill is a champion of inconsistency, negativity and bitterness. It would be wishful thinking to believe otherwise.
“Simon Busuttil has no plans, no ideas and his only narrative is to be completely negative and utterly bitter. He has been all over the place on numerous occasions, shooting from the hip. But he totally brushes off questions regarding people around him, most recently in regard to Beppe Fenech Adami and Tonio Fenech. It is ironic to see him do this, especially when one recalls the tenacity he showed when speaking about Government or Labour officials where he acted as both judge and jury at the same time.
“It will be interesting to see Dr Busutill call on the government to further reduce electricity costs, when he himself called the lowering of costs a gimmick whilst being part and parcel of the previous Nationalist administration. Inconsistent.
“His only idea is to keep generating our electricity by using heavy fuel oil while keeping an entire country hostage, at the mercy of fuel price fluctuations. Inconsistent.
“The tanker. Marthese Portelli envisioned a disaster like Chernobyl. Now he can look it up the reports that this Government, as promised, has published, unlike what used to be the norm before, where nothing was ever published. The stark reality is that he is against gas conversion, against investment and, ultimately, against the people, particularly those who live in the South: inconsistent and negative.
“We will listen to the Opposition leader speaking about poverty, even though he made part of a government that didn’t recognise the problem to begin with, by calling this reality merely a ‘perception’. Inconsistent.
“It will be even more interesting to listen to him speak about the lowering of universal suffrage, amongst other ideas, ideas he left out from the electoral manifestos he penned. Inconsistent.
“We will look forward to his speech, a speech that will confirm once more, that there is only one choice: this Government’s roadmap and Joseph Muscat.”
Rosette Thake - Nationalist Party Secretary-General
"As a Maltese citizen, I expect that, first of all, the Prime Minister is honest and gives a truthful picture of the daily reality of Maltese families. As clearly explained by the Leader of the Opposition last Monday, the budget failed the Caritas test, as families who have seen a huge increase in their expenditure in the past three years are today worse off than three years ago. Therefore, I hope that the Prime Minister, first of all, admits this reality and finds a solution to this growing challenge in our country.
“Also, I expect the Prime Minister to explain why he is keeping energy costs high, when civil society is constantly putting pressure for these to reflect the decrease in the international price of oil, and the savings made via the interconnector and BWSC Power Station.
“The Prime Minister should explain his vision for the country, something which was completely missing in the budget presented by Minister Scicluna last Monday. I also expect the Prime Minister to explain his concrete proposals on how he, as the person leading the country, is to solve the growing problem of traffic congestion.
“The Prime Minister should not resort to personal attacks on the Leader of the Opposition, and other members of the Opposition, as he has done during past budget speeches. This is unbecoming of his position.
“However, having followed Muscat for the past eight years since he has been Party Leader, I am convinced, that once again, he will fail – both through his words and more so through his actions – to address the daily challenges faced by Maltese families.”