Training Exercises - Leader of Opposition

1. Responding

It's very important for the Leader of Opposition to be able to quickly respond to the PM. LO's need to be reactive and flexible, able to quickly modify the prepared case or quickly make one up on the spot, in case the definition of the PM is not what was expected

One simple exercise is to for the LO to make a speech without any preparation time. This exercise can be done with just two speakers (one PM and one LO) or two teams (having a full team trains teamwork under pressure and the ability of the deputy leader of opposition to also quickly respond). Basically the PM is given the motion and time to prepare. The LO (and opp team) do not know what the motion is - they go into the debate with no preparation time and have to think of a case in the 7 minutes of the PM's speech. A variation if this is to give the Gov team and the Opp team slightly different motions (for example, the Gov team prepares We Would Legalize Euthanasia and the Opp Team prepares We Support the Right to Commit Suicide). Just before the debate starts, you tell them you have given them different topics, and the opposition needs to adapt to the Government case. This activity recreates the scenario where the Govt team takes a narrower intrepretation of a broader topic and the Opposition need to adapt their case to fit the one they are now opposing.

2. Strategic Concessions

For the topics below, get teams to firstly discuss 3 possible Govt definitions, setups and cases. Then for each Govt approach, what are acceptable and unacceptable Opposition approaches? What concessions can they make and can't they make? What is the most strategic approach from Govt and from Opposition? If there are mutliple groups, get each group to defend a different approach and have a short debate or structured discussion about the merits and demerits of each approach.

Sample topics

  • We support the right of citizens to choose to die
  • We would negotiate with terrorists
  • Governments should stop funding space exploration
  • We support affirmative action for women in politics