Our parliament is ineffective. Blanket majorities provide absolute power to those in government and the separation between the executive and the legislative is non-existent. This stifles Parliament’s ability to hold government accountable for its actions. There is excessive tribal antagonism and not enough cross-party collaboration. We believe we can improve our democracy without increasing the costs to the taxpayer.
We commit to undertaking extensive consultation on the issue of parliamentary reform, including experts, stakeholders, and the public at large via a referendum. Throughout the consultation, Together Gibraltar will advocate for:
More independent Cross-Party Select Committees, to foster independent scrutiny and cross-party collaboration.
A chance for MP’s to be questioned on matters in a public forum, at least once every six months.
Exploring the possibility that Direct Democracy, in the information age, can complement representative democracy.
Elected Members of Parliament who are in Opposition to be properly resourced with funding so they can discharge their duties to the community.
Funding for campaigns is completely opaque. Parties do not publish their campaign donors or their expenses, nor is there a legal imperative forcing them to do so. This opens the door for campaigns to be funded by corporate backers and lobbies. This comes at a cost, which is a place of privilege at the table where important decisions are made. This is not exclusive to Gibraltar, but is a global phenomenon that is being increasingly decried.
Together Gibraltar will:
Break this cycle by providing public funds to finance political campaigns. In order to assess the value of this public expense, independent candidates would have to present 500 verifiable signatures and parties with a slate of 10 would have to present 5,000. The funding would amount to £2,000 per party candidate and £4,000 for independent candidates. All donations must be presented for parliamentary audit and donations over £3,000 will be included in a public register that will be available on the Gibraltar Parliament website. Parties should perform due diligence on their sponsors and present these as part of their audit.
Civil Service political freedom
Civil servants account for roughly a quarter of the electorate. These citizens do not enjoy full rights to freedom of expression and political association. In some cases, this is justified in the interest of protecting sensitive information, in others it is simply a barrier to political freedom that hinders public debate and innovation.
We need a protocol that safeguards sensitive information, without impeding people from exercising fundamental political rights. It’s not the people we need to silence, but the information.
Together Gibraltar will:
Create a protocol establishing a 3-tier system of information for civil servants: Classified, sensitive and public, with clear and enforceable rules about how to handle each tier in a way that allows for political freedom to be enjoyed without breaches of information.
The Ombudsman is an important element of public scrutiny that can operate independently from Government and should therefore be granted the maximum level of autonomy and power. We will:
Make government bound to having annual meetings with the Ombudsman to present its Annual Report.
Allow powers to execute 'Own Initiative Investigations'. This would afford the Ombudsman the power to investigate without receiving a complaint, and award it enhanced levels of autonomy.