Parliamentary Debate
A how to guide for novices and Ian
• What is Parli?
– Parli is a spontaneous team debate format
modeled after the British House of Commons.
Parli is a relatively new event in High School
forensics, but it is popular among college
debate teams.
• Is it just like LD or Policy?
– Yes & No. Parli debate does follow some of the
standard debate rules and guidelines. Unlike
LD and Policy, Parli can be either a value
debate or a policy debate. The main difference
is that the emphasis in Parli is on strong
speaking skill and the creation of logical
arguments. Not evidence like the other two
debate forms.
• Who can do Parli?
– Anyone can compete in Parli and the event is
good practice for someone curious about
debate, but doesn’t have the time needed to
prepare for LD or policy. The people who tend
to have the most success in the event are those
who like spontaneous speaking events.
How Parli Works
• In a Parli round a topic will be announced
15-20 prior to the beginning of the round.
• Each team will be designated as either the
government or the opposition.
• Once the topic has been read the team will
separate and prepare their case for the
How Parli Works
Speaking Time and Order
• Government
– (1)PM Const. 7 min
– (3)MG Const. 7min
– (6)PM Rebuttal 5min
• Opposition
– (2)LO Const. 7min
– (4)MO Const. 7min
– (5)LO Rebuttal 5min
***Pls note that the OPP speaks for 12 unopposed
How Parli Works
Who Does What?
• Government
– PM: The PM has
several jobs in the first
• Define the Resolution
• Establish the elements
of the plan
• State the Plan
• Provide a weighing
mechanism for the
• Opposition
– LO: The Leader of the
opp, also has several
jobs in their first
• Attack the definitions
• Attack the plan
• Propose a counter plan
• Provide an alternate
weighing mechanism
How Parli Works
Who Does What?
• Gov
– The MG in the second
constructive must:
• Uphold the PM’s
definitions & Attack the
Opp’s def.
• Defend plan and attack
counter plan
• Provide new
examples\reasons to
support the Gov.
• Repeat key voting
– The MO in the 2nd
constructive must:
• Uphold the LO’s
definitions & Attack the
Aff’s def.
• Defend plan and attack
counter plan
• Provide new
examples\reasons to
support the OPP.
• Repeat key voting
How Parli Works
Who Does What?
• Gov
– The PM in the final
rebuttal should:
• Address any new
arguments brought up
by the Opp
• Tell the story of why we
• Opp
– The LO in the final
rebuttal should:
• Attack the Gov’s plan
• Restate the Opp’s plan
• The the story of why
they won.
How Parli Works
Who Does What?
• Parli debate does not have a specific time
set aside for cross examination. Instead the
students are allowed to ask questions of the
speaker with the exception of the first and
last minute of each speech.
• Whoever is not speaking next should be
asking as many questions as they can get
away with, during their opponents speech.
How do I win?
• To win Parli, you must first understand an
important rule:
– The government has a burden that they must
meet. Since the government is advocating a
change in the status quo, they must prove that
their change will improve the status quo. This is
why the plan is critically important in the
government’s case.
How do I win?
• The Opposition is fortunate in that they do
not have to meet any burden. The Opp can
win in a variety of ways:
– Prove that the gov’s plan will not work
– Prove that the gov’s problem is not important
– Provide a better counter plan
What is a plan?
• A plan is just your way of solving a
problem. If you have ever competed in
congress, then you know exactly what a
plan is (hint: it is the bill you are debating).
For a plan to work there are several
essential elements that you need.
Essentials of the Plan
• Inherency: Otherwise known as the
problem. Before you can come up with a
plan you must define the problem that your
plan fixes. For a plan to be successful you
problem must be two things:
– Serious: if no one cares it is not a good
– Ongoing: If the problem has already
happened and will not happen again, then it is
not good.
Essentials of the Plan
• Harms: Why do we care? How is this
problem hurting us. Is it costing us money,
lives, property, etc. This is crucial in getting
your judge to buy into your plan.
Essentials of the Plan
• Plan: This is how you are going to solve
your problem. All good plans should have
the following:
– Agent of Action: who is going to implement the
– Funding: How much is it going to cost? How
are we going to pay for it?
– You solution: What is being done.
Essentials of the Plan
• Solvency: Prove how your plan will solve
the problems you listed. It is not good
enough to just say it will, you must prove it
is true. Normally you should go through
you Inherency and address each problem

Parliamentary Debate