The Prime Minister is responsible for defining the terms in the resolution and presenting and defending a sufficient case for the resolution. The case is made up of the arguments a debater uses to further his or her case and persuade the audience. The PM then presents evidence to back up each argument in the form of reasoning, examples, statistics, case studies, facts and any other material that attempts to further the case.
The elements of a persuasive argument are that they be:
- Relevant to the issues of the debate.
- They 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.
- Debaters should ensure that the matter they present is consistent within their speech and their team.
In Parliamentary debate, the Prime Minister outlines the motion at the beginning of his or her speech and defines the meaning of any terms in the motion which require interpretation. The definitions provided must have a clear and logical link to the motion. In addition the definition must be debatable that is not so narrowly defined as to restrict the ability of the opposing team to reasonably debate the motion.
The Prime Minister must provide this definition to the Speaker prior to the debate (the earlier the better) such that the Speaker may certify that it is indeed debatable. As part of a new pilot project, the Prime Minister is being requested to send the definition directly to the Leader of the Opposition prior to the debate. The intent of this pilot is to determine if quality of debates improve when less time is spent debating the definition during the debate.
As the proposer of the motion, the PM has the final say in the debate. This final appeal is vital to the Governments cause. The Speaker should briefly rebut the case presented by the Opposition and then compellingly reaffirm the Government’s position. As for the last few minutes of the Opposition’s speech, no new arguments may be presented, though new evidence in support of old arguments is permissible as is evidence in direct refutation of anything presented by the Opposition.