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Better get used to silent audiences if you want to beat Obama

Ray D’Cruz Republican hopeful Newt Gingrich honed a key message since the South Carolina debates: only he can beat Obama in the presidential debates. Until last night’s debate, the message worked well. It combined one of Gingrich’s perceived strengths (debating) with the issue that matters most to Republicans (beating Obama). But the case for his superior … Continue reading

Republican debates fail to find the real issues

Opinion by Ray D’Cruz The Republican primary debates have been a disappointment to any serious observer. With a few exceptions, they have consistently failed to debate the issues that might allow an intellectually curious  Republican voter to discern the best challenger for President Barack Obama. How is this possible? There have been 15 debates since … Continue reading

Telling stories and asking questions: lessons from Ireland’s RTE debate

Opinion by Ray D’Cruz Questions feature in every debate, and usually the main point of interest is who gets to ask them.  The questioner ranges from moderator to media panel to live audience to virtual audience – or a combination of these in a single debate. The recent set of English-language Irish debates featured two … Continue reading

The perils of five-way debates: what Irish leaders can learn from the Canadian experience

Opinion by Ray D’Cruz In a little under 24 hours, five Irish leaders will debate in the second Leaders’ Debate of the 2011 Irish election. The first debate had just two leaders: Micheal Martin (Fianna Fail) and Eamon Gilmore (Labour). This was for the major party leaders – with the notable absentee being Enda Kenny … Continue reading

Debating the debates commission: the risk of bipartisanship

Opinion by Ray D’Cruz Labor and the independents have agreed, in writing, to form a debates commission. The details of the debates commission are yet to be set out. Hopefully this will mean the end of debates about debates – and the tedious dare and counter dare from leaders who tack like yachts looking for … Continue reading

Principles for a new approach to Australian televised leaders’ debates

Opinion by Ray D’Cruz The following principles establish a new approach for Australian debates. They seek to meet the two central aims of election debates: to educate voters so that they may exercise a more informed vote; and to engage the public in the political process. Principle 1 – There should be a sufficient number of debates to … Continue reading

Debacle demonstrates need for debates commission

Opinion by Ray D’Cruz The dare and counter-dare for more Australian election debates now heads into its fifth, excruciating week. As of tonight, another debate might happen, but it’s in the hands of party operatives. What a reassuring thought. If you want conclusive proof that election debates should be taken out of the hands of … Continue reading

Where’s the chicken? Playing politics with election debates

Opinion by Ray D’Cruz Prime Minister Julia Gillard is daring Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to another debate – a themed debate on the economy. The one and only debate was 10 days ago. Yet the boldness of her dare is undermined by her rejection during the last debate of Mr Abbott’s proposal for a further … Continue reading

Coaching the Speakers in the Leaders’ Debate

Ray D’Cruz, author of the Worlds’ Rules, and Chris Croke, current Worlds’ Champion, provide some tips to Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott on The Drum. Read what they have to say. Phil Senior who has completed a PhD in televised leaders’ debates and is a former coach of the Australian Schools Debating Team has written … Continue reading

Debate Club: Australia’s sad attempt at engagement

Opinion by Ray D’Cruz The National Press Club has confirmed arrangements for this Sunday’s sole leaders’ debate on their website. It will be a one-hour debate, with a panel of three journalists quizzing both leaders. Only media and political party operatives will be present at the Club. No details have been provided about the format … Continue reading