World Masters Debating Championship
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 The format of the debate
1.1.1 The debate will consist of two teams of four persons (persons will be known as "members"), a chairperson (known as "Speaker of the House" or "Mister/Madame Speaker") and an adjudicator or panel adjudicators.
1.1.2 Teams will consist of the following members:
Government: "Prime Minister", "Deputy Prime Minister", "Member of the Government" and "Government Whip".
Opposition: "Leader of the Opposition", "Deputy Leader of the Opposition", "Member of the Opposition" and "Opposition Whip".
1.1.3 Members will speak in the following order:
(a) Prime Minister;
(b) Opposition Leader;
(c) Deputy Prime Minister;
(d) Deputy Opposition Leader;
(e) Member of the Government;
(f) Member of the Opposition;
(g) Government Whip;
(h) Opposition Whip.
1.2 The motion
1.2.1 The motion should be worded clearly.
1.2.2 The motion should reflect that the World Masters Debating Championship is an international tournament.
1.2.3 The members should debate the motion in the spirit of the motion and the tournament.
1.3.1 Teams should have at least fifteen minutes to prepare for all debates.
1.3.2 Teams should arrive at their debate within five minutes of the scheduled starting time for that debate.
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. It should be borne in mind that the use of printed material during a debate could affect a member's manner.
1.4 Points of Information
1.4.1 Points of Information (question directed to the member speaking) may be asked between the end of the first minute and the six minute mark of the speech (speeches are seven minutes in duration).
1.4.2 To ask a Point of Information, a member should stand. The Member may place one hand on his or her head and extend the other towards the other 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 allow the person offering the point of information to make the point of information or may decline to take 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 asking the point of information to sit down where the person offering the point of information 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 will 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 (see Rule 3.3.4).
1.4.8 Points of Order and Points of Personal Privilege are not permitted.
1.5 Timing of the Speeches
1.5.1 Speeches will be seven minutes in duration (this should be signalled by two strikes of the gavel). Speeches over seven minutes and twenty seconds may be penalised.
1.5.2 Points of information may only be offered between the end of the first minute and the six minute mark of the speech (this periods should be signalled by one strike of the gavel at the first minute and one strike at the sixth minute).
1.5.3 It is the duty of the Speaker of the House to time speeches.
1.5.4 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.
1.6 The Adjudication
1.6.1 The debate should be adjudicated by a panel of at least three adjudicators, where this is possible. The panel composition will always be an odd number.
1.6.2 The panel will come to a decision, no ties allowed.
1.6.3 The results of the round and the adjudicator’s comments must be released.
1.6.4 Only experienced adjudicators (Worlds level A or B) not competing in the Masters competition may be permitted to adjudicate.
PART TWO: DEFINITIONS
2.1 The Definition
2.1.1 The definition should state the issue for debate arising out of the motion and state the meaning of any terms in the motion, which require interpretation.
2.1.2 The Prime Minister should provide the definition at the beginning of his or her speech.
2.1.3 The definition of the debate should not be self-proving (truistic or tautological). A truistic definition is self-proving when the case is that something should (or should not) be done and there is no reasonable rebuttal and no reasonable opposing substantive case. A tautological definition is self-proving when the case is that a certain state of affairs exists (or does not exist) and there is no reasonable rebuttal and no reasonable substantive opposition.
2.1.4 The definition should have a clear and logical link to the motion.
2.1.5 Squirreling (choosing a definition which does not have a clear logical link to the motion) is prohibited.
2.2 Challenging the definition
2.2.1 Only the Leader of the Opposition may challenge the definition if it violates Rules 2.1.3, 2.1.4, 2.1.5 or 2.1.6.
2.2.2 The Leader of the Opposition should clearly state that he or she is challenging the definition.
2.2.3 The Leader of the Opposition should substitute an alternative definition after challenging the definition of the Prime Minister.
2.3 Assessing the Definitional Challenge
2.3.1 The adjudicator should determine the definition to be unreasonable where
(a) the definition is self-proving (truistic or tautological); or
(b) the definition has no clear and logical link to the motion; or
(c) the definition has been squirreled; or
(d) the definition has time or place set the debate.
2.3.2 The onus to establish that the definition is unreasonable is on the Opposition.
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.
PART THREE: MATTER
3.1 The Definition of Matter
3.1.1 Matter is the content of the speech. It is the argument 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. It includes points of information taken.
3.2 The duty to present matter
3.2.1 Government Members (with the exception of the Government Whip) must present positive matter. The Government Whip may choose to introduce positive matter
3.2.2 Opposition Members (with the exception of the Opposition Whip) should attempt to present positive material. The Opposition Whip may not introduce positive matter (new material).
3.2.3 All members should attempt to answer at least two points of information during their own speech and offer points of information during opposing speeches.
3.3 The elements of Matter
3.3.1 Matter should be relevant. Arguments should relate to the issues of the debate and the case being presented. The Member should appropriately prioritise and apportion time to the dynamic issues of the debate.
3.3.2 Matter should be logical. Arguments should be developed logically in order to be clear and well-reasoned.
3.3.3 Matter should be consistent. Members should ensure that the matter they present is consistent with the speech and their team.
3.4 Assessing Matter
3.4.1 The matter presented should be persuasive. "The elements of Matter" should assist an adjudicator to assess the persuasiveness of the matter presented.
3.4.2 Matter should be assessed from the viewpoint of the average reasonable person. Adjudicators should disregard nay specialist knowledge they may have on the issue of the debate.
3.4.3 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.
3.4.4 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.
PART FOUR: MANNER
4.1 The Definition of Manner
4.1.1 Manner is the presentation of the speech. It is the style a member uses to further his or her case and persuade the audience.
4.1.2 Manner includes the style of the members' presentation and the structure of their presentation.
4.2 The Elements of Style
4.2.1 Eye contact will generally assist a member to persuade an audience as it is allows the member to appear more sincere.
4.2.2 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, pace and volume of the debater and the use of pauses.
4.2.3 Hand gestures may help a member to emphasise important arguments. However, excessive hand movements may be distracting and reduce the attentiveness of the audience to the arguments.
4.2.4 Language should be clear and simple. Members who use language, which is too verbose or confusing, may detract from the other elements of manner.
4.2.5 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.
4.2.6 The use of humour is permitted and may be used by debaters to assist their presentation.
4.2.7 Any other element which may affect the effectiveness of the presentation of the member.
4.3 The elements of structure
4.3.1 The structure or organisation of material of the speech of each member. The member should structure or organise his or her matter to improve the effectiveness of their presentation.
4.3.2 The structure or organisation of material of the team. The team should organise or structure their matter to improve their presentation's effectiveness.
4.4 Assessing manner
4.4.1 The manner of the member should be effective. 'The elements of style' and the 'The Elements of structure' should assist an adjudicator to assess the effectiveness of the member's presentation.
4.4.2 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.
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 preferences, age, social status or disability.
PART FIVE: ADJUDICATION
5.1 Deciding on the Winner
5.1.1 At the conclusion of the debate, the adjudicators award the victory to one team.
5.1.2 Teams may receive a forfeit where they fail to arrive at the debate more than five minutes after the scheduled time for debate without reasonable cause.
5,2 Marking the Debate.
5.2.1 The marks awarded to members and team should reflect the adjudicators' impression of debate.
5.2.2 The marks awarded to a team should be the total of all members' marks when added together.
5.2.3 The decision is either split (by majority) or unanimous.
5.2.4 Marks should be in awarded with the following interpretation:
Manner Total Meaning Letter Range
50 50 100 Flawless A (100-90)
47 ½ 47 ½ 95 Excellent
45 45 90 Very good
42 ½ 42 ½ 85 Good B (89-80)
40 40 80 Above Average
37 ½ 37 ½ 75 Average C (79-70)
35 35 70 Below Average
32 ½ 32 ½ 65 Poor D (69-60)
30 30 60 Very Poor
27 ½ 27 ½ 55 Bad E (59-50)
25 25 50 Very Bad
PART SIX: PARTICIPATION
6.1.1 Only one team of four members is allowed per nation.
6.1.2 The following nations were invited to compete at the inaugural tournament (based on prior participation) subject to future decision by World Council:
c. New Zealand
d. South Africa
h. United States
6.1.3 Selections to teams must be determined by a National Debating Organisation or by the institution which represents the nation in Worlds Council.
6.1.4 Masters’ delegates must adjudicate during the regular rounds at Worlds.
6.1.5 Masters’ delegates are eligible to represent a country if a citizen or if they were affiliated with a university which represented it. No other restrictions apply.