Current Affairs
Government and Opposition agree on Bill for public scrutiny to be carried out on public appointments

The Government and the Opposition have agreed on a Bill by means of which public scrutiny will be carried out on people who have been given a public appointment or appointed as non-career Ambassadors.

This was announced by Justice Minister Owen Bonnici when the House of Representatives re-adjourned following the Christmas holidays and the discussions in committee resumed on the Bill to amend the Public Administration Act.

Minister Bonnici said that meetings have been held with Opposition spokesman Dr Karol Aquilina and agreement has been reached on many of the amendments which were put forward so that the law will enacted with the consensus of both the Government and the Opposition. He said that this is proof that the two sides can work together for better laws to be put into effect.

Among the amendments on which there was agreement he mentioned that those people who already occupy a public post would not require public scrutiny if the appointment is renewed however, all those who will be appointed from now on need to pass through the scrutiny of the House Committee.  This includes people appointed as Ambassadors, even public officers who do not work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Dr Karol Aquilina said that the Government is open for discussions on the details of the law. He said that no agreement was reached on the appointment of high-ranking posts such as the Police Commissioner, the Head of the Armed Forces, the Attorney General, and the Chief Executive of the Planning Authority, with the Opposition presenting its amendments on these.

Minister Bonnici replied that in its electoral programme, the Labour Party proposed that scrutiny should be carried out on appointments to regulatory Authorities and non-career Ambassadors. As an example he mentioned the scrutiny of the Chairman on the Planning Authority Board who lays out the policy of the Authority, but not the Chief Executive who executes this policy.