Michael Piccinino spoke about social inclusion at Repubblika’s general meeting. The social policy chapter from Repubblika’s new manifesto is below.
6. An inclusive, just and humane society.
Repubblika believes that no society can be healthy until even a single person remains excluded.
We believe that we are all responsible for each other and towards each other. This is why we believe that solidarity is our foundation both as a society and as a state.
Our efforts for justice (where everyone gets what they deserve) goes hand in hand with our work on solidarity because we believe in the dignity of each individual and their fundamental rights. Each person has intrinsic value, independently whether man or woman, old or young, rich or poor, black or white or any other distinction we might create.
This principle also governs economic life, where excuses are being found in order to justify the exploitation of workers in the workplace, long working hours, abuse in payments given, and unequal pay for equal work. It is clear that values that have been agreed upon are degenerating and need protection once more.
Social justice is a structure which ensures the fulfilment of a person’s duties towards the community as well as those of the community towards the individual.
Today, the state is burdened with many responsibilities that formerly were held by the family, relative and neighbours, the Church and voluntary organisations. One of the advantages of this state of affairs is that the state has a range of resources, including financial resources, that the latter do not possess.
However, there are also disadvantages. It is very difficult for the bureaucratic machine, which is sometimes very impersonal, to give the personal touch that can be given by the family, relatives and neighbours, the Church and voluntary organisations. Consequently, we believe in the duty of the state to maintain and strengthen all initiatives towards a healthier society.
Yet Government should never exploit voluntary initiatives as an excuse to shirk ensuring a public service. Consequently, we believe that it is the undeniable duty of the state to:
- supply protection, prevention and medical cure to all without payment for high-quality services rendered which take into account rare and difficult cases just as any other case;
- ensure that everyone earns enough to lead a decent life and have full access to economic and social opportunities;
- ensure that there are no obstacles for anyone to accede to a digital society;
- ensure that the distance between poor and rich is not too wide;
- welcome those who escape poverty, violence, or lack of opportunities in their country;
- contribute to world peace and therefore aid poorer countries to stand on their feet;
- reach and develop Malta’s obligations with regard to climate change.
Persons in public life should not negotiate the rights of their citizens. This does not only mean that corruption should not assume the appearance of payment or compensation.
Bestowing favours, privileges (whether due or not), to citizens in return for a vote or for any other sort of loyalty is also a form of corruption and injustice with respect to whoever does not seek favours from politicians but chooses to make democratic decisions and choices in the interest of the whole community, before seeking personal interest.