Contribution by UDM Deputy President - Debate: Budget Vote 2 - Parliament (11 May 2010)

Mr Speaker, and honourable Members,

This Parliament is one year old. In that time we have seen the introduction of a whole new crop of Members as well as several new Government Departments. The new Executive has made some attempt towards a more consultative relationship with all the parties in Parliament. This has also been felt in this House where our concerns regarding speaking times have been addressed somewhat. We are grateful for the improvement, however marginal.

However, it is our belief that this budget and the policy that it underpins still fail to address many of the underlying concerns about this institution.

The proportional formula that is applied to speaking times, funding and other aspects of Parliamentary functioning does not foster an environment where all voices get a reasonable opportunity to be heard.

The functioning of Parliament should be measured against its success at allowing all voices to be heard. This can only be achieved in two ways: Firstly, by giving all political parties the time, resources and opportunities to represent the views of their voters. Secondly, by ensuring genuine public participation in the formulation of policy and law.

Our country faces huge challenges, not least of which being the worst inequality on the planet. It is our constitutional and moral duty to ensure that we explore all avenues and listen to as many voices as possible in our pursuit of solutions. In the early 90s we proved to the world our unique ability to find solutions when we enter into a genuine dialogue amongst ourselves. This Parliament should seek to emulate that spirit of nation-building.

The UDM supports the budget vote.

I thank you.