Following criticism of last night’s debate at the National Press Club, both sides of Australian politics have agreed to a new set of rules in line with the debating conventions of Australian secondary schools.
Both Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and opposition leader Tony Abbott will spend the beginning of their allotted time defining simple concepts, such as “the economy”, “Australia” and “refugee”. They will also be required to outline in precise terms how each team differs in their respective positions.
“Obviously, it can be very confusing,” agrees professional debating adjudicator Sally Oxford. “Normally debates have a positive and negative team, whereas here we have two negatives. Or as the Macquarie Dictionary defines it, ‘Consisting in or characterized by the absence rather than the presence of distinguishing features’”.
Notes will be allowed, but points will be deducted for reading from them in a rehearsed and unnatural sing-song voice, something which Rudd feels targets him unfairly. On the other hand, the new debating rules also mean that rhetoric will not score as well as evidence-based arguments, something Tony Abbott feels targets him unfairly.
In conclusion, both sides have agreed to a new set of rules in line with the conventions of Australian secondary schools.
Reported by Dave Bloustien