Details finialised for the first federal election debate

THE first leaders' debate of the 2013 Federal Election campaign will be held on Sunday night at the National Press Club in Canberra.

A week of grappling between the major parties ended on Friday when they agreed to a time, format and broadcasting arrangements for the debate.

It will be moderated by Sky News presenter David Speers, with the leaders to be questioned by senior press gallery journalists Lyndal Curtis (ABC), Peter Hartcher (Fairfax) and Simon Benson (News Corp).

The hour-long debate will air live on ABC1, ABC News 24, GEM (with The Worm), 7TWO and ONE from 6.30pm. 

Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott will make three-minute opening statements, with a coin toss to determine who goes first, before taking questions from the journalists.

Each leader will also get to make three-minute closing statements based on a general question from the moderator.

As for the location and format of any future debates, a stalemate remained.

Australian Labor Party national secretary George Wright wrote to his Coalition counterpart Brian Loughnane on Thursday night accepting the invitation for Sunday's NPC debate, but on the condition each of the major networks were given the opportunity to host a debate during the campaign on the issues of national security, the economy and climate change, health and education.

In his reply, Mr Loughnane again expressed the Coalition's preference for a further two public forum-style debates - one at the Rooty Hill RSL in western Sydney and another in Brisbane. 

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