In May 1995, Parliament enacted a number of amendments to the House of Representatives (Privileges and Powers) Ordinance which, inter alia, introduced for the first time a Code of Ethics for Members of the House.
This Code of Ethics establishes standards of correct behaviour which the Members of the House are themselves proposing to observe as elected representatives serving their country in its highest democratic institution. Obviously, the innovation for our parliamentarians does not lie in the standards themselves, since every single member has always been expected to conduct himself in accordance with the dignity of the institution in which he serves. What is new, is the fact that these rules of conduct have now been codified, thus providing a further tool for public scrutiny and enhancing accountability.
The Code also introduces a Register of Members' Interests which will henceforth contain personal information submitted by each member, some of which is information which so far has not been available for public scrutiny.
I firmly believe that the unanimous approval of the amendments to the Privileges Ordinance constitutes further evidence of our parliamentarians' commitment to achieve the highest standards possible when carrying out their public service. Certainly, it is another step forwards made by the Maltese Parliament in its never ending process towards enhancing democratic values in our country.
House of Representatives
30 June 1995
CODE OF ETHICS OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1. A member of the House of Representatives shall at all times, both inside and outside the House, conduct himself in a manner which reflects the status and dignity of the House of Representatives.
2. A member of the House of Representatives shall adhere to the spirit and letter of the rules of the House of Representatives and to the rules of duly constituted committees thereof as contained in the Standing Orders of the House or any resolution approved by the House of Representatives.
3. Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-article (2) of article 5 of this Schedule, a member of the House of Representatives may not receive any remuneration or compensation under whatever form for his work as a member of the House of Representatives, except for his official remuneration as a member.
4. While a member of the House of Representatives is in duty bound to relay the complaints of his constituents and to make representations in their name to Government authorities, the Member is expected not to use any improper influence, threats or undue pressure in the course of his duties.
5. (1) Every member of the House of Representatives will annually at the time established by the Speaker of the House of Representatives indicate in a register which will be purposely kept by the Speaker, which register shall be open to inspection by the public:
(a) his work or profession, and if he is employed, the identity of his employer;
(b) his own immovable property, that of his spouse if the community of acquests applies, that of his minor children as well as, if he so wishes, the manner of its acquisition and of its use;
(c) shares in commercial companies, investments including money deposited in banks and any other form of pecuniary interest;
(d) directorships or other official positions in commercial companies, associations, boards, co-operatives or other groups, even if voluntary associations.
(2) A member of the House of Representatives -
(a) who has a professional interest, including work interest consultancy, management or any form of connection, pecuniary or otherwise, with persons, groups or companies, that have a direct interest in legislation before the House, shall declare his interest in the House, at the first opportunity, before a vote is taken on the Second Reading of a Bill;
(b) shall not accept gifts from persons, groups or companies that had any direct or indirect intent in legislation before the House of Representatives;
(c) shall accept no honorarium for a speech, writing or publication, or other similar activity from any person, organisation or companies in excess of the usual and customary value for such services;
(d) who has made a visit outside Malta, financed in whole or in part by one person, group or company which has a direct interest in legislation before the House, shall declare the fact in a register purposely kept by the Speaker, and accessible to the public;
(e) is expected to report to the Speaker and to the competent authorities any attempt at corruption, pressure or undue influence by third persons, aimed at influencing his conduct as a member.
6. Reference shall not be made in professional, occupational or business matters to membership of the House of Representatives which in any way can give undue advantage to a member.