Whip Speakers

I explain the role of the Whip Speakers in this format. These are the speakers who speak last in both teams, and I talk about them together since their roles are very similar. There are 3 main responsibilities, to Summarize and Defend your Case, Summarize and Prioritize issues in the debate and lastly Analyze and Rebut key issues.

Read a transcript of this Video
Questions and Answers on the Role of the Whip Speaker
Activities in Class or Training Exercises
Example of this Role

Brief Notes on this Lecture

Whip speakers are the last constructive speakers in the Asian Parliamentary format. Constructive speakers are those who build up arguments and clash points in the debate. Although whip speakers don't usually present new arguments (the Opposition Whip speaker is forbidden from doing this and it's too late in the debate for any new arguments to make a huge impact anyway) they can present new rebuttals, examples, analysis and defense of arguments that have already been made. They do this by doing the following

A) Briefly summarize and defend your case

  • It's important at the start of the speech to spend a minute or less to emphasize the points made by your team. This reminds the audience what the contribution of your team is and gives you a context from which to make your rebutalls and analysis. It will be easier to compare the other team's arguments to yours if you briefly summarize them first.

B) Summarize and prioritize the most important arguments or issues in the debate.

  • There will be many arguments and rebuttals flying around in the debate. You need to identify the main themes or major arguments that are dominating the debate or that you feel are important. This part is really important, you cannot talk about everything that has been said so you will have to choose. Choosing ideas that are not important will make the rest of your speech redundant. Be objective when deciding what the clash points are and be fair to the other team.

C) Rebut and analyze the arguments or issues and say why your team has done better on all of them, most of them or on the most important ones

  • This is the largest part of your speech. Once you have identified the major issues, go through and rebut all of them. Compare them to arguments your team has made and show why yours are better. 

Don't present new arguments, but you can present new analysis, new examples, new rebuttals and give support for arguments that your teammates have already made in the debate

Question and Answers - the Whip Speakers

Transcript - Video Lecture on the Whip Speakers

Hello hello, welcome back! It's time to talk about the 3rd speakers on both teams. And I'm also going to talk about these two guys, or girls together because their roles are very similar to each other. There are some differences, but they are very similar. So I'm gong to talk about the Government Whip (GW) and the Opposition Whip (OW) collectively.

It's important to realize (as whip) you are coming at the end of the debate, so at this part of the debate, 4 speakers or 5 speakers if you are opposition whip, would have already spoken before you. There are going to be many arguments and rebuttals and claims and counter claims and accusations and examples and analysis and all these different things. So your job in principle is to sort out this mess, is to balance these things and to tell the judges and the teams, why you have done better. More than tell them, show them why you have done better. 

There are essentially 3 parts to your speech. Firstly, as a good whip you must briefly summarize and defend your case Secondly summarize and prioritize the issues and ideas in the debate, and then thirdly, analyze and rebut these issues. Let's look at them.

Firstly briefly summarize your case and your position. This helps give the judges or the audience a little bit of clarity. When you get up (to make your speech), this is the first thing (you should do) and you shouldn't take very long. If you are speaking for 7 minutes, this should be about a minute or less. You (can) say "now this is what we have done, these are our 3 arguments (or) these are our 4 arguments and these arguments are still strong and still doing well". You are giving them a brief overview of what your team has presented in this debate. 

The second thing you do and this is one of the most important things, you summarize and prioritize the issues and ideas in the debate. You identifying what you think are the most important points in the debate. These are things that maybe will be questions in the minds of the audience. Things on which the debate might turn, might hinge. For example on the topic that we would ban smoking in the university campus, one of the issues may be how much harm is there from people smoking on campus. Is the harm very very real?  (This is) Because the government team will try to create a lot of harm to a lot of people and the opposition team will try to reduce this harm, and say that it's really not that much harm. Or an issue could be about rights - how do we balance the rights of smokers and the rights of non-smokers? So as a whip speaker, I want to identify these things. I want to say, or you want to say, there are two issues in this debate, or there are 3 issues in the debate. Firstly the issue of harm, secondly the issue of rights, and thirdly what is the role of a university. Sometimes these can be characterized based on the arguments of the other team. Perhaps the 3 arguments they have presented, those are going to be the important issues in the debate. 

Sometimes these (issues) are also presented as questions. Do people have the right to smoke? Or which is more important? And so on and so forth - you get the idea. Basically what you have to do is identify what the most important issues in the debate are. This should also not take very long.

The third thing you should do is you should rebut and analyze those issues. Now (for example) "I've identified 3 important issues, I've said the first important issue in this debate is what is the harm of second hand smoke, secondly how do we balance the rights of smokers and non-smokers (and thirdly what is the role of universities)...and in the 3rd part of my speech i should rebut and analyze those things. So since I said what is harm, I will give you reasons why the harm is very real or the harm can be reduced..", and then secondly when I talk about the rights, I will show you why our argumentation on rights is better than their argumentation of rights.

To do these things I can provide new rebuttals to arguments, I can provide new examples, I can also provide new analysis to rebuttals. What i cannot do, what I should not do as a whip speaker is provide new arguments. A new argument is an idea that has not happened in the debate before and is not a rebuttal. So if no one on my team so far has talked about, let's say cost, the economic perspective has never come up in this debate before. Then as the whip speaker I shouldn't bring that idea up. The rules of Asian Parliamentary technically allow the government whip (to bring new arguments) but specifically forbid the opposition whip from doing this. But I think it's good strategy for neither of the whip speakers to bring new arguments. You can bring a new rebuttal, so if you want to rebut the second speakers speech and third speakers speech by providing economic analysis, you can do that. A lot of it is how you make your points. 

To recap, the whip speaker speaks at the end, so your job is to summarize and to clarify issues, to attract points that are still hanging, to show why your team is doing better. To that effect you should do three things; start by providing a brief summary of the arguments of your team and your case, and defend them. Then prioritize and analyze the issues of the debate - identify which you think are the most important issues in this debate. Thirdly - and this will be the bulk of your speech, analyze and rebut those issues. Tell the audience and the judges why your team did better, why the position of your team is much better for those issues, and rebut and analyze. Remember, no new arguments, but new examples and new rebuttals are okay

Good luck whip!