1.1 The Douse Competition has 3 students in a team. Please note: there is now a 4th or silent speaker in this competition.
The Murray and Ford Competitions, has at least 3 students with a 4th student as the silent speaker/note taker for each team. This is the same for Junior Crime Prevention.
Senior Crime Prevention has at least 2 students in each team.
1.2 Each student must be studying at the school they debate for, and be under the age of 20 as at 31 December in the year the competition commenced. There are also special requirements for each competition.
(a) Douse‑Students should be in years 10 to 12
(b) Murray‑Students must be in years 8 to 10
(c) Ford‑Students must be in years 6 to 8
(d) Crime Prevention Senior‑Students should be in years 10 to 12
(e) Crime Prevention Junior‑Students must be in years 6 to 9
This means that students in year 8 to 10 have a choice. They can debate in the higher level (ie, Douse, Murray and Crime Prevention) against older students, or the lower level against students in the same age group.
1.3 In the preliminary rounds
(a) a student may speak once in any team for which they are eligible
(b) a student may speak more than once in only one team.
If a team reaches the elimination and final series, the only students who can debate for that team are those who have spoken at least twice in that team.
Where a team wins or looses a debate by forfeit, the students who were due to speak in that debate are taken to have debated in that team for the purposes of this rule.
Suppose you have two teams in a competition. Debater A can speak once, but only once in each of those teams, eg, as a reserve if someone in the other team is sick. But debater A can speak twice in only one of those teams. So if Debater A is a member of the first team and has spoken twice for that team, s/he cannot fill in for someone in the second team on more than one occasion. If the second team makes the elimination debates, Debater A cannot speak in that team because s/he has only debated once in that team.
1.4 In the Murray and Ford Competition only, each team may have a fourth (or silent) speaker. The 4th speaker may not speak in the debate, but can sit at the table during the debate with the 3 students who will be speaking. S/he can assist the other 3 students by, for example, taking note of what the other team is saying or passing on suggestions of what to say in response. The 4th speaker can also help prepare with the team in secret subject debates. A team may use a 4th speaker regardless of whether the opposing team uses one. For the purposes of paragraph 1.3 above (schools with more than one team), the 4th speaker is counted as a member of the team and the same restrictions on speaking in more than one team applies. At the start of the debate the captain should make sure the adjudicator has written down the name of the 4th speaker on the mark sheet.
2.1 The aim of these debates is to see how well the students can prepare a debate in a limited time without outside help. Every team in the Douse and Murray Competitions will have two of their preliminary rounds as secret subject debates. Only team members may be involved in the choice of topic. 4th speakers can help choose the topic - but the team coach cannot.
2.2 Teams must arrive an hour and a quarter before the debate is due to begin (See Rule 4.2). At that time there will be three subjects to choose from. As the teams do not know which side they are debating, they must rank the subjects bearing in mind that they could be either affirmative or negative. They rank them from 1 (first choice) to 3 (third choice). The two teams in the debate then compare their choices.
(a) If both teams agree on the first choice, then that is the subject they will debate.
(b) If they don't agree on the first choice, the two third choices are eliminated.
(c) If that leaves one subject (in other words, if the team had different third choices), that is the subject they will debate.
(d) If there are still two subjects left (because the teams had the same third choice), one of the organisers will toss a coin to decide which is the subject they will debate.
2.3 One of the organisers then tosses a coin to decide the sides. The team which wins the toss is the affirmative; the team which loses the toss is the negative.
2.4 The teams have one hour to prepare the debate.
Following are special rules about preparing the debates. Please read them carefully. Every year, teams are accused of breaking these rules. Make sure yours is not one of them.
2.5 Either the 3 or 4 (see para 1.4 above) students in the team can prepare a secret debate. Nobody else can help prepare ‑ students, teachers, coaches, parents etc.
2.6 Each team has its own separate preparation room or space. Nobody, other than the team members preparing for the debate, can be in the preparation room or space.
2.7 Each team is allowed to bring a dictionary. Although other reference materials are not banned, remember that in one hour you are extremely unlikely to be able to research anything and prepare the arguments for the debate as well. Therefore teams should not bring other reference materials, ie, mobile phones or laptop computers, although they are not banned.
2.8 Team members may not talk to anybody else at any time during the preparation of the debate. This also includes the time it takes to get from the preparation room to the actual debate room. This also includes hooking up portable computers to modems, and using mobile phones. If anyone needs to talk to one of the students preparing the debate, they should either ask one of the organisers to do it for them, or else get the approval of the person coaching the other team first.
2.9 If you think the rules on team preparation have been broken by the other team, tell the adjudicator who is judging the debate. S/he will decide what to do. One option is to allow the debate to go ahead. If the debate goes ahead, you are still allowed to lodge a written protest (see 6 below), if the breach of rules had a significant effect on the outcome.
In most cases where these rules are broken, they are broken innocently. But even an innocent breach of the rules looks bad to the other team, who can never be entirely sure that is was innocent. The easiest way to avoid breaches or the preparation rules is to remember one thing: Don't talk to the students preparing the debate from the time they start preparation and up until the debate is over.
3.1 Each competition has its own special speaking times for each speech:
(a) Douse ‑ 8 minutes
(b) Murray ‑ 6 minutes
(c) Ford ‑ 4 minutes
These speaking times apply to all debates in the competition, including the semi-finals and finals.
3.2 Bell times for the competitions are as follows:
There will be a single bell at 3 minutes and two bells at 4 minutes.
If the speaker has not sat down 15 seconds after the first bell, there will be another bell at which the speaker must sit down. If the speaker does not sit down the adjudicator will tell the speaker to do so.
There will be one bell at 1 minute and one bell at 5 minutes. Points of information will only be offered and taken in between these two bells. There will be two bells at 6 minutes. If the speaker has not sat down 15 seconds after the last bell, there will be another bell at which the speaker must sit down. If the speaker does not sit down the adjudicator will tell the speaker to do so.
There will be one bell at 1 minute and one bell at 7 minutes. Points of information can only be offered and taken between these two bells. There will be two bells at 8 minutes. If the speaker has not sat down 15 seconds after the last bell, there will be another bell at which the speaker must sit down. If the speaker does not sit down the adjudicator will tell the speaker to do so.
3.3 In competitions with points of information, students from the opposing team may offer points of information between the first and second bells of the speaker’s speech. They may not offer them before the first bell or after the second bell. If the second bell goes while the point of information is being made, the speaker can choice whether or not to answer it if s/he wishes.
3.4 The timekeeper is provided by the negative team in prepared rounds, and by the second named team in secret subject rounds. The timekeeper must have a stopwatch or a watch with a second hand. Timekeepers must not use watches which do not show the second as well as the minutes.
3.5 A debate cannot start without the adjudicator. Make sure the adjudicator is in the room and ready before starting the debate.
Well organised teams plan carefully to make sure the team gets to the debate on time. Even so, things can go wrong, eg, sudden illness, car breakdown and even snow cutting the roads into Canberra or turning up to the wrong school. We have to have rules to deal with debaters who are late or who do not turn up, even if the reason for the delay is out of your control.
4.1 The first rule deals with debates on prepared subjects. If a team does not have 3 (Douse, Murray, JCP or Ford) or 2 (Senior Crime Prevention) eligible students at the debate within 15 minutes of the scheduled starting time, it forfeits the debate.
4.3 Sometimes teams know well in advance that they cannot debate on a particular night. A team can postpone one debate in the preliminary rounds, with the consent of the other team (this works differently in SCP, where you simply inform the Duty Officer). It postpones a debate by giving the other side and the ACTDU at least two working days notice of the postponement. There are catch up rounds scheduled in the draw where postponed debates can be held. If a team fails to give at least two working days notice, it forfeits the debate and cannot use a catch up round. ACTDU will be flexible with extenuating circumstances.
4.4 A team which wins a debate on a forfeit gets the point for winning the debate. When it is necessary to give an individual mark to the team for the debate, ie, to rank teams, the teams gets the average mark from its other debates for the debate it wins by forfeit.
4.5 Any team which uses an ineligible debater will be deemed to have forfeited the debate and in an extreme case it may also be asked to show cause why it should not be disqualified from the competition.
5.1 The final series for each competition are different; it depends on the number of teams in the competition and the time we have available for the final series.
Douse, Murray and Ford‑if the total number of teams in the competition is 32 or more, we will take 16 teams into the final series, beginning with octo-finals. If the number of teams is less than 32, we will take 8 teams into the final series, beginning with quarter finals.
5.2 At the end of the preliminary rounds in a competition, we rank all teams according to the number of debates won. If we can separate teams by this method to get exactly the right number of teams for the final series, we will take all those teams into the final series. But if we have more teams tied on the same number of wins, we do one of two things depending on the competition.
Douse, Murray and Ford ‑ We hold an elimination round to reduce the teams to the right number for the final series. Some teams may have a bye in the elimination round and go straight to the final series. These teams will be the top ranked teams.
Assume that in a competition we can take 16 teams into the octo finals, and 23 teams have qualified because of the number of wins they have. We give the top 9 teams a bye into the octo finals, while the other 14 teams have a knock‑out elimination round to decide the other 7 octo finalists.
5.3 In the Douse, Murray and Ford, the 16 octo finalists are ranked according to their wins, and then according to marks to separate those teams tied on the same number of wins. This allows us to rank the teams from 1 to 16. The final series is a knock‑out and takes place as follows:
(a) Team 1 v Team 16
(b) Team 2 v Team 15
(c) Team 3 v Team 14
(d) Team 4 v Team 13
(e) Team 5 v Team 12
(f) Team 6 v Team 11
(g) Team 7 v Team 10
(h) Team 8 v Team 9
(i) Winner (a) v Winner (h)
(j) Winner (b) v Winner (g)
(k) Winner (c) v Winner (f)
(l) Winner (d) v Winner (e)
(m) Winner (i) v Winner (l)
(n) Winner (j) v Winner (k)
(o) Winner of (m) debates Winner (n)
6.1 Generally speaking, we do not allow protests after debates. However, there are two
(a) if one of these competition rules has been broken; or
(b) if the adjudicator has made a clear error in applying the principles of debating.
In each case the breach or error must be significant and have had the potential to affect the result of the debate. If your complaint is simply that you disagree with the result, you cannot lodge a protest.
If a team in a secret subject debate had help from a teacher, this could be a significant breach of the rules, especially if the result was close. If the adjudicator said that new matter was compulsory at 3rd negative, this too, could be a significant error in applying the principles of debating. But if the adjudicator assessed the weight of the arguments in a way in which you do not agree, that is not grounds for protest.
6.2 Because it is a very serious thing to lodge a protest, we require some formalities. A protest must be lodged by a teacher or coach from the school involved, not by the team members. It must be in writing. It must set out the names of the teams and the name of the adjudicator. It must briefly describe what happened, and state why it is believed that there are grounds to protest. It must be lodged by fax within three days of the debate. If the protest does not comply with these formalities, we will not consider it. If it does comply with these formalities, we will acknowledge it and deal with it as set out in para 6.3.
6.3 Once we receive a protest, it is examined by the ACTDU Adjudications Officer. If they are unavailable (including a conflict of interest), then the matter shall be referred to the president of ACTDU. S/he may request more information of both teams and from the adjudicator involved. S/he will then give a written decision on the protest. This decision is final and binding.
6.4 To comply with the requirement for written lodgement in rule 6.2, protests must be either sent by post to ACTDU or alternatively sent by electronic mail to the adjudication officer, with a copy sent to the president.
7.1 Rules are all very well and good but just occasionally something happens that nobody expected. If there are no rules to cover it, we will have to decide what to do, sometimes on the spot. If there are rules that appear to cover it, but they act unintentionally harshly, the ACTDU reserves the right to waive the rules.
NOTE: We are extremely unlikely to waive the rules that impose forfeits for not turning up on time.
8.1 In these rules we have referred frequently to “we” or the “ACTDU. This means the ACT Debating Union Inc, which organises the competitions.
8.2 Sometimes the rules show that "we" have to make a decision. In the case of protests, these decisions are made by a senior adjudicator (see para 6.3 above). Sometimes a decision will have to be made on the spot at a debate, either by the rostered duty officer for the debate round, or by the adjudicator of the individual debate.