WATCH: Simon Busuttil Talks Cabinet Decisions, Chief Of Staff Appointment
Spoiler: He'll have fewer ministers but pay them more
Lovin Malta has asked for an interview with the leaders of the two main parties contesting the June 3rd election. Labour leader Joseph Muscat has so far declined our invitation.
With just seven days left until the end of this short election campaign, Lovin Malta's Chris Peregin interviewed Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, who revealed many details of the first things he would do once elected Prime Minister. Here are some highlights from the full interview which can be viewed above.
1. Simon Busuttil believes the Nationalist Party owes the LGBTIQ community an apology
Asked whether the LGBTIQ community deserved an apology for the PN's reluctance to grant them equal rights, Busuttil said: “From me, not so much, because they know very well that I’ve always tried to push my own party along the years on this issue, but on behalf of my party, yes.”
Busuttil also said the civil liberties were the best thing done by Labour in the past four years.
2. He will have fewer ministers but pay them more
Busuttil said he would have a smaller Cabinet than the one of Joseph Muscat but a bigger one than that of former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi.
Asked whether he would raise salaries of ministers, to fight corruption and attract more talent to politics, Busuttil said yes and agreed that corruption was "partly due" to the poor salaries given to politicians. He said he already pledged to allow MPs to become full-timers. He also commissioned a report to advise him on salaries.
"I will stick to the recommendations of that report," he said.
3. His Cabinet of Ministers will be as gender balanced 'as possible'
He's already made sure his Shadow Cabinet is split up evenly between five men and five women.
4. The main contenders for Finance Minister are Mario de Marco and Claudio Grech
"We have a cluster of people working in finance and the economy," he said, when asked whether he had someone like current Finance Minister Edward Scicluna who could ensure the country kept up its surplus. He didn't want to say
5. Josie Muscat will not be Civil Liberties Minister and George Pullicino will not be Environment Minister
"Yes, I suppose I can safely exclude that," he said when asked to respond to Labour Party claims that this might be the case.
6. If an MP proposed legislation on euthanasia or abortion, he would let it go to a vote but vote against
"When it comes to the vote, it's very clear how I would vote on these two particular issues," he said.
7. He will nationalise the Gozo general hospital 'at all costs'
Even though he has not read the full contract between Vitals Global Healthcare and the government, he is convinced this can be done with a political mandate and some strong negotiation.
8. His Chief of Staff will probably be Matthew Gatt
Asked to say who he would appoint as Chief of Staff, Busuttil mentioned Matthew Gatt, who already serves him in that position.
in Busuttil's own words, Gatt is "a very difficult person to work with".
“Matthew grew up with me because he was with me in Brussels, so we’ve worked together for the last 10 years. We have a very good relationship. But what’s different about Matthew is that he’s always the opposition within the Opposition, if you know what I mean. I like those kind of people,” he said.
9. His new political mission to instil good governance is a natural development of his previous mission to get Malta in the EU
"I’ve always believed strongly in these points. Joining the EU for me, also meant good governance. I think even for people, it’s been that way," he said.
10. He wants to use the PN's e-democracy platform and turn it into an e-government platform
"I want to create a unit within the OPM to make sure this e-government platform becomes a governmental tool. So that people would start deciding every day and not just once every five years. And so that politicians will start listening more and taking instructions from the people,.
11. His first action in government would be to sack the Police Commissioner
He already has some "potential replacements" in mind but he hasn't spoken to them yet and did not want to divulge their names.