1. The format of the debate
- The debate will consist of four teams of two persons (persons will be known as "members"), a chairperson (known as the "Speaker of the House" or "Mister/Madame Speaker" and an adjudicator or panel of adjudicators.
- Teams will consist of the following members:
- Opening Government consists of the "Prime Minister" or "First Government member" and "Deputy Prime Minister" or "Second Government member";
- Opening Opposition consists of the "Leader of the Opposition" or "First
Opposition member" and "Deputy Leader of the Opposition" or "Second
- Closing Government consists of the "Member for the Government" or "Third Government member" and "Government Whip" or "Fourth Opposition
- Closing Opposition consists of the "Member for the Opposition" or "Third Opposition member" and "Opposition Whip" or "Fourth Opposition member".
- Members will deliver substantive speeches in the following order:
(1) Prime Minister;
(2) Opposition Leader;
(3) Deputy Prime Minister;
(4) Deputy Opposition Leader;
(5) Member for the Government;
(6) Member for the Opposition;
(7) Government Whip;
(8) Opposition Whip.
- Members will deliver a substantive speech of seven minutes duration and should offer points of information while members of the opposing teams are speaking.
Iron Person Policy: If, during any of the Preliminary Rounds, a member of a team is taken ill and requires medical treatment, or a recognised medical condition prohibits them from participating in a given Preliminary Round, the other member of the team is entitled to participate in the Preliminary Round as an ‘iron-person’ team, subject to following:
(1) In an iron-person team, one speaker delivers both speeches. The speaker must prepare on their own.
(2) In judging an iron-person team, the Adjudication Panel shall treat the team as if they were an ordinary team, and fill out the ballot accordingly (indicating that the team was an iron-person team on the ballot).
(3) The results of a debate in the Preliminary Rounds that includes an iron-person team shall be entered into the tab as follows:
- The team in question shall receive the team points earned during that round, and
- Both speaker scores shall be awarded to that team
- The speaker who iron-personed should get the higher of the two speaker points, the speaker who did not speak for the round should get a lowest speaker point allowed by the constitution
(4) The rules relating to iron-person teams shall operate at the discretion of the Adjudication Core and Equity Committee:
- Where there is a dispute between the two bodies regulating iron-person teams, the judgement of the Equity Committee shall take precedence.
- For the avoidance of doubt, the bodies regulating iron-person teams shall determine only whether a team is to be allowed to compete as an iron-person team in a given Preliminary Round, and may not make any variation to the consequences of that decision under this section.
(5) No team may compete as an ‘iron-person’ team in more than one Preliminary Rounds of any one Edition of the Championships.
2. The motion
- The motion should be unambiguously worded.
- The members should debate the motion in the spirit of the motion and the tournament.
- The debate should commence 15 minutes after the motion is announced.
- Teams should arrive at their debate within five minutes of the scheduled starting time for that debate.
- Members are permitted to use printed or written material during preparation and during the debate. Printed material includes books, journals, newspapers and other similar materials. The use of electronic equipment is prohibited during preparation and in the debate.
4. Points of Information
- Points of Information (questions directed to the member speaking) may be asked between first minute mark and the six-minute mark of the members’ speeches (speeches are of seven minutes duration).
- To ask a Point of Information, a member should stand, place one hand on his or her head and extend the other towards the member speaking. The member may announce that they would like to ask a "Point of Information" or use other words to this effect.
- The member who is speaking may accept or decline to answer the Point of Information.
- Points of Information should not exceed 15 seconds in length.
- The member who is speaking may ask the person offering the Point of Information to sit down where the offeror has had a reasonable opportunity to be heard and understood.
- Members should attempt to answer at least two Points of Information during their speech. Members should also offer Points of Information.
- Points of Order and Points of Personal Privilege are not permitted.
5. Timing of the speeches
- Speeches should be seven minutes in duration (this should be signalled by two strikes of the gavel). Speeches over seven minutes and 15 seconds may be penalised.
- Points of Information may only be offered between the first minute mark and the six minute mark of the speech (this period should be signalled by one strike of the gavel at the first minute and one strike at the sixth minute).
- It is the duty of the Speaker of the House to time speeches.
- In the absence of the Speaker of the House, it is the duty of the Chair of the Adjudication panel to ensure that speeches are timed.
6. The adjudication
- The debate should be adjudicated by a panel of at least three adjudicators, where this is possible.
- At the conclusion of the debate, the adjudicators should confer and rank the teams, from first placed to last placed.
- There will be verbal adjudication of the debate after the first six preliminary rounds of the tournament.
Chapter 2 - Definitions
1. The definition
- The definition should state the issue (or issues) for debate arising out of the motion and state the meaning of any terms in the motion which require interpretation.
- The Prime Minister should provide the definition at the beginning of his or her speech.
- The definition must:
- have a clear and logical link to the motion - this means that an average reasonable person would accept the link made by the member between the motion and the definition (where there is no such link the definition is sometimes referred to as a "squirrel");
- not be self-proving - a definition is self-proving when the case is that something should or should not be done and there is no reasonable rebuttal. A definition is may also be self-proving when the case is that a certain state of affairs exists or does not exist and there is no reasonable rebuttal (these definitions are sometimes referred to as "truisms").
- not be time set - this means that the debate must take place in the present and that the definition cannot set the debate in the past or the future; and
- not be place set unfairly - this means that the definition cannot restrict the debate so narrowly to a particular geographical or political location that a participant of the tournament could not reasonably be expected to have knowledge of the place.
2. Challenging the definition
- The Leader of the Opposition may challenge the definition if it violates clause the rules. The Leader of the Opposition should clearly state that he or she is challenging the definition.
- The Leader of the Opposition should substitute an alternative definition after challenging the definition of the Prime Minister.
3. Assessing the definitional challenge
- The adjudicator should determine the definition to be ‘unreasonable’ where it violates rules.
- The onus to establish that the definition is unreasonable is on the members asserting that the definition is unreasonable.
- Where the definition is unreasonable, the opposition should substitute an alternative definition that should be accepted by the adjudicator provided it is not unreasonable.
- Where the definition of the Opening Government is unreasonable and an alternative definition is substituted by the Opening Opposition, the Closing Government may introduce matter which is inconsistent with the matter presented by the Opening Government and consistent with the definition of the Opening Opposition.
- If the Opening Opposition has substituted a definition that is also unreasonable, the Closing Government may challenge the definition of the Opening Opposition and substitute an alternative definition.
- If the Closing Government has substituted a definition that is also unreasonable (in addition to the unreasonable definitions of the Opening Government and Opening Opposition, the Closing Opposition may challenge the definition of the Closing Government and substitute an alternative definition.
Chapter 3 - Matter
1. The definition of matter
- Matter is the content of the speech. It is the arguments a debater uses to further his or her case and persuade the audience.
- Matter includes arguments and reasoning, examples, case studies, facts and any other material that attempts to further the case.
- Matter includes positive (or substantive) material and rebuttal (arguments specifically aimed to refute the arguments of the opposing team(s)). Matter includes Points of Information.
2. The elements of matter
- Matter should be relevant, logical and consistent.
- Matter should be relevant. It should relate to the issues of the debate: positive material should support the case being presented and rebuttal should refute the material being presented by the opposing team(s). The Member should appropriately prioritise and apportion time to the dynamic issues of the debate.
- Matter should be logical. Arguments should be developed logically in order to be clear and well reasoned and therefore plausible. The conclusion of all arguments should support the member’s case.
- Matter should be consistent. Members should ensure that the matter they present is consistent within their speech, their team and the remainder of the members on their side of the debate
- All Members should present positive matter (except the final two members in the debate) and all members should present rebuttal (except the first member in the debate). The Government Whip may choose to present positive matter.
- All Members should attempt to answer at least two points of information during their own speech and offer points of information during opposing speeches.
3. Assessing matter
- The matter presented should be persuasive. ‘The elements of matter’ should assist an adjudicator to assess the persuasiveness and credibility of the matter presented.
- Matter should be assessed from the viewpoint of the average reasonable person. Adjudicators should analyse the matter presented and assess its persuasiveness, while disregarding any specialist knowledge they may have on the issue of the debate.
- Adjudicators should not allow bias to influence their assessment. Debaters should not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, sex, race, colour, nationality, sexual preference, age, social status or disability.
- Points of information should be assessed according to the effect they have on the persuasiveness of the cases of both the member answering the point of information and the member offering the point of information.
Chapter 4 - Manner
1. The definition of manner
- Manner is the presentation of the speech. It is the style and structure a member uses to further his or her case and persuade the audience.
- Manner is comprised of many separate elements. Some, but not all, of these elements are listed below.
2. The elements of style
- The elements of style include eye contact, voice modulation, hand gestures, language, the use of notes and any other element which may affect the effectiveness of the presentation of the member.
- Eye contact will generally assist a member to persuade an audience as it allows the member to appear more sincere.
- Voice modulation will generally assist a member to persuade an audience as the debater may emphasise important arguments and keep the attention of the audience. This includes the pitch, tone, and volume of the member’s voice and the use of pauses.
- Hand gestures will generally assist a member to emphasise important arguments. Excessive hand movements may however be distracting and reduce the attentiveness of the audience to the arguments.
- Language should be clear and simple. Members who use language which is too verbose or confusing may detract from the argument if they lose the attention of the audience.
- The use of notes is permitted, but members should be careful that they do not rely on their notes too much and detract from the other elements of manner.
3. The elements of structure
- The elements of structure include the structure of the speech of the member and the structure of the speech of the team.
- The matter of the speech of each member must be structured. The member should organise his or her matter to improve the effectiveness of their presentation.
- The substantive speech of each members should:
- include: an introduction, conclusion and a series of arguments; and
- be well-timed in accordance with the time limitations and the need to prioritise and apportion time to matter.
- The matter of the team must be structured. The team should organise their matter to improve the effectiveness of their presentation. The team should:
- contain a consistent approach to the issues being debated; and
- allocate positive matter to each member where both members of the team are introducing positive matter;
4. Assessing manner
- Adjudicators should assess the elements of manner together in order to determine the overall effectiveness of the member’s presentation. Adjudicators should assess whether the member’s presentation is assisted or diminished by their manner.
- Adjudicators should be aware that at a World Championship, there are many styles which are appropriate, and that they should not discriminate against a member simply because the manner would be deemed ‘inappropriate Parliamentary debating’ in their own country.
- Adjudicators should not allow bias to influence their assessment. Members should not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, sex, race, colour, nationality, language, sexual preference, age, social status or disability.