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UKM-U English Society The University of Lampung (ESo Unila) GUIDELINES FOR DEBATERS (ASIAN PARLIAMENTARY) Kristian Adi Putra Lampung

UKM-U English Society

The University of Lampung(ESo Unila)



Kristian Adi PutraLampung




Table of Contents


THE BASICS OF DEBATING.............................................................1



THEME LINE................................................................................4

TEAM SPLIT.................................................................................4

ARGUMENTS.................................................................................5What adjudicators look for in a good argumentPreparing a Reasonable Argument

REBUTTAL....................................................................................6Organization of rebuttal

ROLES OF THE SPEAKERS...............................................................7The first speakers establish the fundamentals of their team's casesThe second speakers deal with the bulk of the substantive argumentThe third speakers main duty is to rebutt the opponent’s caseReply speakers give a recap of the debate and a convincing biased adjudication



Guidelines for Debaters Table of Contents



THIS document is an introduction to Asian Parliamentary debates, the motions/topics, team structure, etc. It is meant to help institutions and universities who are new to the Parliamentary debating format and are interested in participating in a debating competition using the format, but are still unclear on the rules and regulations. This document is not intended to serve as a definitive guide to the rules of the tournament.


DEBATING is about developing your communication skills. It is about assembling and organizing effective arguments, persuading and entertaining an audience, and using your voice and gestures to convince an adjudicator that your arguments outweigh your oppositions. Debating is not about personal abuse, irrational attacks or purely emotional appeals.

A debate is held between two teams of three members each. These two teams will be referred to as the Affirmative and the Negative. Members of each team are assigned positions as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd speakers. For each debate, a motion is given. After the motion is given, teams are given thirty (30) minutes to prepare for each debate.

Each of the speakers will deliver a substantial speech of seven (7) minutes duration and either the 1st or the 2nd speaker on both sides will deliver the reply speeches for their teams. Reply speeches will be five (5) minutes.

Thus, the complete order of speaking during a debate is as follows: 1st Affirmative – 7 minutes 1st Negative – 7 minutes 2nd Affirmative – 7 minutes 2nd Negative – 7 minutes 3rd Affirmative – 7 minutes 3rd Negative – 7 minutes Negative Reply – 5 minutes Affirmative Reply – 5 minutes

What must both sides do? In general: Affirmative (also known as “the Government”)

The Affirmative team must define the motion and support this by giving constructive arguments. The right to define first

Substantial Speeches

Reply Speeches


resides with the Affirmative team, who is expected to give a reasonable definition for the motion.

Negative (also known as “the Opposition”)The Negative team must oppose the motion as defined by the Affirmative, and build a counter-case against the Affirmative. In the event the Negative team feels that the definition is invalid, they may challenge the definition and propose an alternative definition. However, the Negative team cannot raise a challenge simply on the basis that their definition is more reasonable.


MOTIONS, also known as topics, are full propositional statements that determine what a debate shall be about. In the debate, the Affirmative team must argue to defend the propositional statement of the motion, and the Negative team must argue to oppose it.

Here are some examples of motions that can be debated about: That we should give President Habibie a chance That Indonesia should change its constitution That football is overvalued in today’s society That cigarette companies should not be held responsible for the

bad effects of smoking That American pop culture is a threat to civilization That long is better than short


BEFORE a debate ensues, the motion that is given must first be defined by the Affirmative team. A definition clarifies the motion. A definition gives a clear description of boundaries to the motion, thereby limiting what the debate will be about into a focused area of discussion. This prevents the debate from turning into a vague and confusing show of unrelated arguments and different interpretations from both teams of what is actually being debated among them.

The definition should take the motion as a whole, defining individual words only if they have a key role. Out of the definition should come a clear understanding of the issues that will be fought over in the debate. If the Affirmative chooses to define the motion on a word-by-word basis, it should define words or phrases by their common usage. Dictionaries may be useful for finding a common meaning or a pithy explanation of a word, but they are not an absolute authority.


An example of a definition could be as follows: Given the motion “that what goes up, must come down”, the Affirmative is presented with many options on how to define the motion, because the nature of the motion itself is quite abstract. One way they could define it is as follows: they could define the object (the ‘what’) as being the president of the Republic of Indonesia. In essence, the motion would then state that anyone who “goes up” (takes power) as president of Indonesia, must undoubtedly one day “come down” (step down from power). This would give us the definition “that the Indonesian presidency should be limited to 2 terms”. The Affirmative team could then argue on the detriments of having unlimited presidential terms, citing proof such as the total control of the past regime under Soeharto, etc.

The above example shows that in most situations, the actual issue of the debate is unknown until the Affirmative delivers their definition of the motion. Only then does it become clear.

Always keep in mind that a definition must be reasonable. This is to say that: it must be debatable (i.e. have two sides to it), and it must not be a bizarre distortion of the motion.

This is not to say that an Affirmative team may not choose an unusual interpretation of the motion, but they must be prepared to justify it.

The Negative, in general, must accept the definition made by the Affirmative, but the Negative shall have the right of challenging the definition if it does not conform to either of the two requirements set out above. However, a Negative team cannot raise a challenge simply on the basis that their definition seems more reasonable. They can only challenge a definition if they can prove it to be either Truistic, Tautological, Squirreling, or Time and place setting (see below).

If a Negative team accepts the definition, they only need to say so, and it is unnecessary to restate it. If they challenge it, their justification for doing so must be clearly stated, and an alternative definition must be put forward. If the definition is accepted, then that definition must stand. The Negative must adjust their case to that definition, and the adjudicator's views on its reasonableness become irrelevant.

The following definitions are strictly prohibited at the tournament, and should be challenged by the Negative team: Truistic definitions : These are definitions which are ‘true’ by

nature and thus make the proposed arguments unarguable and therefore unreasonable in the context of the debate. If a team


defines the debate truistically, they seek to win the debate by the truth of their definition rather than by the strength of their arguments and supporting evidence. An example of a truistic definition would be if the motion “that we should eat, drink, and be merry” were defined as “that we should eat, because otherwise we would starve to death; drink, because otherwise we would die of thirst; and be merry because we are alive”.

Tautological or circular definitions : This happens when a definition is given in such a way that it is logically impossible to negate it. An example would be if the motion “that technology is killing our work ethic” were defined as follows: the Affirmative team decides to define the term ‘technology’ as meaning “all scientific advancements that make life easier and therefore kills our work ethic”. This would result in the whole definition “that all scientific advancements that make life easier and therefore kills our work ethic is killing our work ethic”. This cannot be logically proven false.

Squirreling : Definitions that are not tied down to the spirit of the motion and do not have a proper logical link to the motion will constitute squirreling. For instance, when given the motion “that the USA is opening up to the PRC”, an Affirmative team could try and define USA as “Untidy Students of Asia”, and PRC as “Pretty Room Cleaners”. This is definitely squirreling, as anyone would agree that the spirit of the motion is about the relationship between the United States and China!

Time and Place-setting : The subject matter of the debate cannot be confined to a particular time and place. For instance, trying to limit the subject matter to only the economic development of Japan during the specific period of the Meiji restoration.

A note on definitional challenges: be very careful about challenging definitions - only do so if you are absolutely certain that the Affirmative's definition is unfair. It is better to be brave and dump your prepared case in favor of tackling the Affirmative on their own terms than to issue an unjustified definition challenge. By the same token, Affirmative teams should try to ensure that their definition is fair.


THE theme line is the underlying logic of a team’s case. It is the main instrument of argumentation that is used to prove a team’s stand on the motion. A theme line can be viewed as a ‘Case In A Nutshell’, because it concisely explains a team’s strategy in defending or negating the motion.


The theme line of a team must heavily imbue each speech of every team member. It is the main idea that links together the first, second, and third speakers, ensuring consistency among all speeches.

In formulating a theme line, it is often helpful to ask the question: Why is the propositional statement given by the definition of the motion true (or false, for the Negative team)? Without further explanation, this propositional statement is a mere assertion, or a statement which is logically unproven to be true. The answer to this question must be an argument which proves the assertion given by the motion. This argument is the theme line.

A theme line should be kept short, and it may take a form of a single sentence, an arrangement of several statements into a logical syllogism, etc. Whatever it is, it must by itself prove the motion (as it is defined) and all arguments brought forward should be based on this theme line.


DEBATING is a team activity. One person cannot take all the arguments and become the sole defender of the team's case. Therefore, there is a need to decide on how the arguments should be distributed among speakers. This is called the team split. Simply put, the team split is the distribution of arguments to the first, second, and third speaker.

Be careful, though, that each individual speech by itself must already prove the motion. You should not create what is called a hung case. A hung case is when an individual speech fails to prove the motion by itself, but instead requires coupling it with other speeches to be able to finally prove the motion.

For a more elaborate exposition on formulating theme lines and team splits, please consult the document entitled “Casebuilding Examples of Asian Parliamentary Debates”. It contains thorough examples that give a very clear idea on how to construct theme lines and team splits from definitions.


ARGUMENTATION is the process of explaining why a point of view should be accepted. It concerns the logic and the evidence supporting a particular conclusion. Use evidence (i.e. examples, facts, statistics, quotations of expert/public opinion etc.) to back up


each point you make in your argument. Show how each piece of evidence is relevant and how it advances your argument. Make a point, give the reason for that point, and supply evidence to back it up.

Arguments are not assertions. Assertions are statements that have yet to be proven to be logically true. On the other hand, arguments must have supporting logic and facts that can show its validity.

What adjudicators look for in a good argument

Relevance Organization Consistency and internal logic - i.e. don't contradict yourself or

your teammates Clarity (remember, debating is about persuading your audience

and adjudicator that you're right - so make sure they can understand what you're saying!)

Effective use of evidence

Preparing a Reasonable Argument

One skill of good debating is being able to construct, and to understand, a reasoned argument and – especially important – to recognize a fallacious or fraudulent argument. The question is not whether we like the conclusion that emerges out of a train of reasoning, but whether the conclusion follows from the premises and whether those premises are true.

When developing your argument, consider the following factors: Wherever possible offer independent confirmation of the "facts." Prepare for substantive debate on the evidence by considering all

points of view. Arguments from authority carry little weight – "authorities" have

made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.

Prepare more than one case. If there's something to be defined, think of all the different ways in which it could be defined. Then think of arguments by which you might systematically rebut each of the cases. What survives, the case that resists rebuttal in this Darwinian selection among "multiple working cases," has a much better chance of being the stronger case than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.

Try not to get overly attached to a idea just because it's yours. It's only a waystation in the pursuit of a winning argument. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the


alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don't, others will.

Quantify. If whatever it is you're explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you'll be much better able to defend it against generalized rebuttal. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging.

If there's a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) – not just most of them.

Occam's Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler.

Always ask whether the case can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are unfalsifiable are called "truisms" and are not in the spirit of debating. You run a good chance of losing a debate, especially if the opposition correctly identifies that your arguments cannot be rebutted.


REBUTTAL is the process of proving that the opposing team's arguments should be accorded less weight than is claimed for them. It may consist of: showing that the opposing argument is based on an error of fact

or an erroneous interpretation of fact showing that the opposing argument is irrelevant to the proof of

the topic showing that the opposing argument is illogical showing that the opposing argument, while itself correct, involves

unacceptable implications showing that the opposing argument, while itself correct, should

be accorded little weight

As with arguments, assertions do not equal rebuttals. Just as teams must show how and why their own arguments are valid, so they must show how and why the opposition's arguments are invalid. An argument may be wrong in fact or logic - if so, say how and

why An argument may contradict their team line, or something else a

speaker on that team has said – if so, point it out An argument may be true but completely irrelevant – these are

often called “red herrings”.


Organization of rebuttal

It is not necessary to rebutt every single point and fact raised by the opposition. Single out their main arguments and attack those first. Savage their theme line and show how it falls down – and show why yours is better! You should rebutt by both destroying the opposition's arguments and by establishing a case that directly opposes theirs.


THE six speakers in an Australasian Parliamentary debate each have different roles to play and adjudicators should take account of how well a speaker fulfills his/her obligations.

The first speakers establish the fundamentals of their team's cases

First Affirmative’s duties: Defines the motion of the debate. The 1st Affirmative should

ensure that no important points of definition are left out. Presents the Affirmative’s theme line. This is normally presented

in one or several lines of analysis, explaining why the Affirmative’s case is logically correct.

Outlines the Affirmative’s team split. This can be done by saying, for example: “I, as the first affirmative will deal with the philosophical base of our case, while my colleague, the second affirmative speaker, will examine its practical implications”.

Delivers substantial arguments (“1st Affirmative’s part of the split”). After establishing the definition, theme line, and team split, the 1st Affirmative should then deal with the arguments/points that have been assigned to him/her in the team split.

Provide a brief summary/recap of the speech.

The 1st Affirmative may spend some time on the definition and on establishing the theme line and showing how it is going to develop, but it is important to leave time to present some substantive arguments.

First Negative’s duties: Provide a response to the definition (accepts or challenges the

definition). Rebutts 1st Affirmative, delivers a part of the negative's

substantive case. Presents the Negative’s theme line. Outlines the Negative’s team split.


Delivers substantial arguments (“1st Negative’s part of the split”). Provide a brief summary/recap of the speech.

The 1st Negative’s role is similar to the role of the 1st Affirmative’s, with the added responsibility of responding to the arguments brought up by the latter. The response to the 1st Affirmative’s arguments can come before the 1st Negative presents his/her own arguments to support the Negative’s case or vice-versa. However, the delivery of rebuttals first is recommended.

After the first speakers have spoken the main direction of each team’s case should be apparent.

The second speakers deal with the bulk of the substantive argument

Second Affirmative’s duties: Rebutts the 1st Negative's major arguments. Briefly restates/reiterates in general terms the Affirmative’s team

case. Delivers substantial arguments (“2nd Affirmative’s part of the

split”). Most of the 2nd Affirmative's time should be spent dealing with new substantial material/arguments. He or she has the duty to present the bulk of the Affirmative's case in an attempt to further argue in favor of the Affirmative.

Provide a brief summary/recap of the speech.

The 2nd Affirmative should be prepared to defend the definition if necessary. If it is attacked, it is vital for the 2nd Affirmative to win back the initiative.

Second Negative’s duties: Rebuttal of the first two Affirmative speakers. Briefly restates/reiterates in general terms the Negative’s team

case. Delivers substantial arguments (“2nd Negative’s part of the split”). Provide a brief summary/recap of the speech.

The 2nd Negative has duties similar to the one performed by the 2nd


Most of the teams' substantive argument should have emerged by the time both second speakers have spoken.


The third speakers main duty is to rebutt the opponent’s case

Third Affirmative’s duties: Rebutt the points raised by the first two Negative speakers. The

3rd Affirmative is mainly entrusted with the duty of responding to the arguments of the Negative that were not previously dealt with by the first two Affirmative speakers. 3rd Affirmative may also reinforce rebuttals that have already been stated by teammates.

Rebuild team’s case (briefly reiterate theme line and first two speakers’ arguments).

Summarize the issues of the debate.

The role of the third speakers is simply this: Attack! Most of a third speaker's time must be spent rebutting the preceding speakers. Generally at least three quarters of a third speech should be rebuttal.

Rebuttal should ideally be carried out on two levels: on a global level (teamwise), a 3rd speaker should attack the opposing team’s whole case, pointing out the major flaws in argumentation and logic. On a more detailed level (speechwise), a 3rd speaker should be able to point out the mistakes in fact and inconsistency of each individual speech.

Third Negative’s duties: Rebutt the points raised by all three Affirmative speakers. Rebuild team’s case (briefly reiterate theme line and first two

speakers’ arguments). Identify the points of contention / the clash of the debate Summarize the issues of the debate

The 3rd Negative has duties similar to the ones performed by the 3rd

Affirmative. However, the 3rd Negative cannot introduce new matter, except for new examples to reinforce an argument that has previously been brought up. The logic behind this rule is that if a 3rd

Negative is allowed to introduce new matter, the Affirmative would be at a disadvantage as they would not have any opportunity to be able to respond to these new arguments.

Reply speakers give a recap of the debate and a convincing biased adjudication

Reply speakers duties (both sides): Provide a summary or overview of the debate Identify the issues raised by both sides Provide a biased adjudication of the debate


Either the first or the second speaker of each side may deliver the reply speech. The Negative team delivers the first reply speech.

A reply speech is a review of both your own and the opposition's case. It represents a chance for the teams to show their arguments in the best light and to summarize the flaws in the opposition's case. The aim is to emphasize the major points made by your own team and to show how these contributed to a logical progression of argument in support of your theme line. At the same time the flaws in the opposition's argument must be outlined. This can be done point-by-point, or by taking a more global approach to the arguments. Both are effective if well done, so find the summary style that suits you best. However, the latter style is often more effective in light of the limited time frame.

The introduction of new material is absolutely prohibited and will be penalized. Any point brought up by the other side which had not been rebutted earlier in the substantial speeches may not be rebutted in the reply speeches. Therefore, this means that all substantive arguments presented in the debate must be dealt with by the opposing team in the substantial speeches.


ADJUDICATION is the process of determining which team wins the debates. This is conducted by an adjudicator, or a panel consisting of an odd number of adjudicators.

There is always a winner in a debate. There are no ‘draws’ or ‘ties’. The speakers are assessed on Matter, Manner, and Method. Matter is 40 points, Manner is 40, and Method is 20, making a total of 100 points for each substantial speech. For reply speeches, Matter and Manner are 20 points and Method is 10, making a total of 50 points.

Matter refers to the points, arguments, logic, facts, statistics, and examples brought up during the course of the debate. Manner is concerned with the style of public-speaking – the use of voice, language, eye contact, notes, gesture, stance, humor and personality as a medium for making the audience more receptive to the argument being delivered. There are no set rules which must be followed by debaters. Method consists of the effectiveness of the structure and organization of each individual speech, the effectiveness of the structure and organization of the team case as a whole, and the extent to which the team reacted appropriately to the dynamics of the debate.



THIS document is not intended to be the definitive set of rules that you must adhere to in debating. It serves as a source of information. For further information, please check out the Casebuilding Examples of Asian Parliamentary Debate. It provides more in-depth explanation of cases, and gives examples to give a good idea of how one should construct cases.

Finally, it must be said that “practice makes perfect”. No one ever masters the art of swimming or riding a bicycle by thoroughly reading guidelines and handbooks. One must take that first plunge, and perhaps even fall down once or twice, before finally becoming skillful. The same applies to debating. These guidelines should be enough to get you started. But practice makes perfect.

Happy Debating!


Asian Parliamentary Debating Rules

Part 1— Introduction

1.1 The format of the debate

1.1.1 The debate will consist of two teams of three 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.

1.1.2 Teams will consist of the following members:

Affirmative Team or Government:

First Speaker of Affirmative Team

Second Speaker of Affirmative Team

Third Speaker of Affirmative Team

Reply Speaker of Affirmative team (Taken from 1st or 2nd speaker)

Negative Team or Opposition:

First Speaker of Negative Team

Second Speaker of Negative Team

Third Speaker of Negative Team

Reply Speaker of Negative Team (Taken from 1st or 2nd speaker)

1.1.3 Members will deliver substantive speeches in the following order:

(1) First Speaker of Affirmative Team;

(2) First Speaker of Negative Team;

(3) Second Speaker of Affirmative Team;

(4) Second Speaker of Negative Team;

(5) Third Speaker of Affirmative Team;

(6) Third Speaker of Negative Team;

(7) Reply Speaker of Negative Team;

(8) Reply Speaker of Affirmative team.


1.1.4 Members will deliver a substantive speech of seven minutes duration, a reply speech of five minutes duration and should offer points of information while members of the opposing teams are speaking in substantive speeches.

1.2 The motion

1.2.1 The motion should be unambiguously worded and all of them are impromptu motion. The heading only that is announced before.

1.2.2 The motion should reflect that this competition is a national debate competition.

1.2.3 The members should debate the motion in the spirit of the motion and the tournament.

 1.3 Preparation

1.3.1 The debate should commence 30 minutes after the motion is announced and decided by using motion preference in assembling point inside of debate room.

1.3.2 Teams should arrive at their debate within five minutes of the scheduled starting time for that debate. If at the end of case building time, the member of the team is not complete, the team will be lost with an average margin at that round, and the complete one will be won with an average margin at the same round, VP 1, and score 0 for both team.

1.3.3 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.

1.4 Points of Information

1.4.1 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). It is only allowed in substantive speeches.

1.4.2 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.

1.4.3 The member who is speaking may accept or decline to answer the Point of Information.

1.4.4 Points of Information should not exceed 15 seconds in length.

1.4.5 The member who is speaking may ask the person offering the Point of Information to sit down where the offer has had a reasonable opportunity to be heard and understood.

1.4.6 Members should attempt to answer at least two Points of Information during their speech. Members should also offer Points of Information.


1.4.7 Points of Information should be assessed in accordance with clause 3.3 of these rules.

1.4.8 Points of Order and Points of Personal Privilege are not permitted.

1.5 Timing of the speeches

1.5.1 Speeches should be seven minutes in duration for substantive speeches and five minutes for reply speech (this should be signalled by three strikes of the gavel). Speeches over seven minutes and 20 seconds in substantive speech and 5 minutes and 20 seconds in reply speech may be penalised.

1.5.2 It is the duty of the Speaker of the House and Time Keeper to time speeches.

1.5.3 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.

 1.5 The adjudication

1.5.1 The debate should be adjudicated by a panel of at least three adjudicators, where this is possible.

1.5.2 At the conclusion of the debate, the adjudicators should decide the winner and the best speaker of the debate which is reflected by the mark given to the team.

1.5.3 There will be verbal adjudications of the debate after each round of the tournament. The verbal adjudication should be delivered in accordance with clause 5.5 of these rules.

Part 2 — Definitions

2.1 The definition

2.1.1 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.

2.1.2 The First Speaker of Affirmative Team should provide the definition at the beginning of his or her speech.

2.1.3 The definition must:

(a) 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");

(b) 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").


(c) 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

(d) 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.

 2.2 Challenging the definition

2.2.1 The First Speaker of the Negative Team may challenge the definition if it violates clause 2.1.3 of these rules. He or She should clearly state that he or she is challenging the definition.

2.2.2 The first Speaker of Negative Team should substitute an alternative definition after challenging the definition of the first Speaker of Affirmative Team.

 2.3 Assessing the definitional challenge

2.3.1 The adjudicator should determine the definition to be ‘unreasonable’ where it violates clause 2.1.3 of these rules.

2.3.2 The onus to establish that the definition is unreasonable is on the members asserting that the definition is unreasonable.

2.3.3 Where the definition is unreasonable, the opposition should substitute an alternative definition that should be accepted by the adjudicator provided it is not unreasonable.

2.3.4 Where the definition of the Affirmative Team is unreasonable and an alternative definition is substituted by the Negative Team, the Affirmative team may introduce matter which is inconsistent with the matter presented by the Negative Team and consistent with the definition of their team, in a word, the affirmative and the negative must be able to show that their definition is the best.

Part 3 — Matter

3.1 The definition of matter

3.1.1 Matter is the content of the speech. It is the arguments a debater uses to further his or her case and persuade the audience.

3.1.2 Matter includes arguments and reasoning, examples, case studies, facts and any other material that attempts to further the case.

3.1.3 Matter includes positive (or substantive) material and rebuttal (arguments specifically aimed to refute the arguments of the opposing team(s)).

3.2 The elements of matter

3.2.1 Matter should be relevant, logical and consistent.

3.2.2 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.

3.2.3 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.

3.2.4 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 (subject to clauses 2.3.4, 2.3.5 or 2.3.6 of these rules).

3.2.5 All Members should present positive matter (except the negative team in the debate) and all members should present rebuttal (except the first speaker of the affirmative team in the debate).

3.3 Assessing matter

3.3.1 The matter presented should be persuasive. ‘The elements of matter’ should assist an adjudicator to assess the persuasiveness and credibility of the matter presented.

3.3.2 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.

3.3.3 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.

Part 4 — Manner

4.1 The definition of manner

4.1.1 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.

4.1.2 Manner is comprised of many separate elements. Some, but not all, of these elements are listed below.

4.2 The elements of style

4.2.1 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.

4.2.2 Eye contact will generally assist a member to persuade an audience as it allows the member to appear more sincere.

4.2.3 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.


4.2.4 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.

4.2.5 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.

4.2.6 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.

4.3 The elements of structure

4.3.1 The elements of structure include the structure of the speech of the member and the structure of the speech of the team.

4.3.2 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:

(a) include an introduction, conclusion and a series of arguments; and

(b) Be well-timed in accordance with the time limitations and the need to prioritise and apportion time to matter.

4.3.3 The matter of the team must be structured. The team should organise their matter to improve the effectiveness of their presentation. The team should:

(a) contain a consistent approach to the issues being debated; and

(b) allocate positive matter to each member where both members of the team are introducing positive matter; and

4.4 Assessing manner

4.4.1 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.

4.4.2 Adjudicators should be aware that at a Regional 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.

4.4.3 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 (subject to Rule 4.2.4), sexual preference, age, social status or disability.

Part 5 — The Adjudication

5.1 The role of the adjudicator


5.1.1 The adjudicator must:

(a) Confer upon and discuss the debate with the other adjudicators;

(b) Determine the winner;

(c) Determine the margin;

(d) Determine the speaker marks;

(e) Provide a verbal adjudication to the members; and

(f) Complete any documentation required by the tournament.

5.1.2 The adjudication panel should attempt to agree on the adjudication of the debate. Adjudicators should therefore confer in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect

5.1.3 Adjudicators should acknowledge that adjudicators on a panel may form different or opposite views of the debate. Adjudicators should therefore attempt to base their conclusions on these rules in order to limit subjectivity and to provide a consistent approach to the assessment of debates.

5.2 Winning teams

5.2.1 Teams should be ranked from first place to second place. First placed teams should be awarded one point; second placed teams should be awarded zero point.

5.2.2 Teams may also receive zero points where they (the three members) fail to arrive at the debate hall more than ten minutes after the scheduled time for debate or motion launch, if there is only one member, the team will be waited until the case building time over with the same consequences.

5.2.3 Teams may receive zero points where the adjudicators unanimously agree that the Member has (or Members have) harassed another debater on the basis of religion, sex, race, colour, nationality, sexual preference or disability.

5.2.4 Adjudicators should confer upon team rankings based on the decision given by each of them whether it is split or anonymous decision.

5.3 Marking the teams

5.3.1 The adjudicators must be able to decide whether the debate is a very close debate, a relatively clear decision or a very clear win first, therefore by considering the standard score for the first speaker of affirmative and negative team, they can fulfil the adjudication sheet.

5.3.2. The margin is only between 1– 12. The range for each speaker’s score should be only 3 for margin 10-12, 2 for margin 5-9, and 1 for margin 1-4, so that there won’t be any margin more than 12.

5.3.2 Margin should be given the following interpretation:


Margin Meaning

1-4 A very close debate with only minor differences separating both teams.

5-9 A relatively clear decision with one team having an obvious advantage.

10-12 A very Clear Win.

5.4 Marking the members

5.4.1 Marking the individual is based on their own performance concerning on the three criteria, e.g. matter, manner, method. The adjudicators must nominate a speaker to be the standard score of the whole debate, decide the margin, and then fulfil the data of each speaker by adjusting each individual score and the margin given.

5.4.2 Individual members’ marks should be given the following interpretation:

Matter/Manner Method Meaning

27 13 Very Poor

28-29 14 Below average - poor

30 15 Average

31-32 16 Above average – Very good

33 17 Excellent

5.5 Verbal adjudications

5.5.1 At the conclusion of the conferral, the adjudication panel should provide a verbal adjudication of the debate.

5.5.2 The verbal adjudication should be delivered by each adjudicator at the preliminary, quarter, semi, and grand final round, even though there will be no winner’s announcement at quarter, semi, and grand final round.

5.5.3 The verbal adjudication should:

(a) Identify which teams has won the debate.


(b) Explain the reasons for the decision, ensuring that each team is referred to in this explanation; and (c) provide constructive comments to individual members where the adjudication panel believes this is necessary.

5.5.4 The verbal adjudication should not exceed 4 minutes.

5.5.5 The members must not harass the adjudicators following the verbal adjudication.

5.5.6 The members may approach an adjudicator for further clarification following the verbal adjudication; these inquiries must at all times be polite and non-confrontational.



Round : ______________________________________ Room : ____________

Chairperson : ______________________ Time Keeper : ______________________

Motion : __________________________________________________________

Adjudicator : _________________________________

Affirmative : _________________________________

Speakers Name Matter(27-33)




Time(7 minutes)




Reply speeches are scored exactly half of substantive speeches.





Time(5 minutes)

ReplyFinal Score

Negative : __________________________________

Speakers Name Matter(27-33)




Time(7 minutes)




Reply speeches are scored exactly half of substantive speeches.





Time(5 minutes)

ReplyFinal Score

Winner : Affirmative / Negative Bandar Lampung,………

Margin : __________________ (between 1-12)

Best Speaker : _______________________________

( ___________________ )