School debating in Australia

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School debating in Australia is primarily organised by The Australian Debating Federation and its eight affiliates. The focus of the debating year is the Australian National Schools Debating Championships, at which the team that is to represent Australia at the World Schools Debating Championships is selected.

Australian Debating Federation (ADF)[edit]

The Australian Debating Federation is a body that oversees schools debating at a national level in Australia.

The ADF has eight affiliate organisations representing the eight states and territories of Australia. The eight affiliates rotate hosting the annual Australian National Schools Debating Championships (NSDC), which is contested by eight teams selected, trained and managed by each of eight state and territory affiliate associations.

Over 28,000 students across Australia take part in debating events organised by the ADF and its affiliates each year.

Executive Committee[edit]

The ADF has an Executive Committee which is responsible for the Federation's administration and the development of debating on a national level. The Executive is elected at an AGM comprising representatives from each affiliate organisation, held annually during the NSDC.

Australian National Schools Debating Championships[edit]

The Australian Debating Federation holds an annual Australian National Schools Debating Championships. The championships, which are contested by eight teams of high school students from each of Australia's eight states and territories, date back to 1971. The tournament uses the Australasian 3-on-3 debating style, and each debate is adjudicated by three nationally-accredited adjudicators (with five for the premilinary final, and seven for the Grand Final).

While team selection methods vary from state to state, debaters are generally chosen through trials and workshops held by their state's affiliate to the Australian Debating Federation. Each team consists of four members and (generally) two reserves who may or may not elect to accompany the team to the NSDC tournament. Teams typically train intensively for 3–5 months prior to the tournament.

The tournament is held annually over 8–10 days, roughly rotating around the state and territory capitals. Teams compete in a seven-round competition, with each team debating each other once. At the end of these rounds, the four top-performing teams progress to the final rounds, where they compete in semi-finals, a preliminary final, and a Grand Final.

Year Champions Runners-up Venue Chris Erskine Medal for Best Speaker in Final
2013 New South Wales South Australia Canberra James Stratton (NSW)
2012 Victoria New South Wales Hobart Tyrone Connell (Victoria)
2011 New South Wales Queensland Perth Bo Seo (NSW)
2010 Queensland Victoria Brisbane Alex Ngoo (QLD)
2009 New South Wales ACT Adelaide
2008 New South Wales Victoria Melbourne
2007 Victoria Western Australia Melbourne
2006 Queensland New South Wales Darwin
2005 Queensland New South Wales Hobart & Launceston

[1][2]


During the NSDC, five outstanding individual debaters are selected by the chief adjudicators to form the National Schools Team which represents Australia at the World Schools Debating Championships. Australia has a record of exceptional performance at the WSDC, at which it has won a record eight Championship titles.[3]

Debating Unions or Associations affiliated to the Australian Debating Federation[edit]

Each of the eight states and territories of Australia has a Debating Union or Association that is affiliated to the Australian Debating Federation.

Australian Capital Territory Debating Union[edit]

The Australian Capital Territory Debating Union (ACTDU) is an independent not-for-profit organization promoting debate in the Australian Capital Territory.

It was formed in 1961 when some public servants set up a debating society to organise competitions between government departments in Canberra, starting debate competitions for schools in 1978.[4]

The ACTDU competitions are :

  • The Ford Trophy competition is for years 6, 7 & 8 students. Each debater speaks for 3–4 minutes and all topics are known at least a week in advance.[5]
  • The Murray Trophy competition is for year 9 & 10 students. Each debater speaks for 5–6 minutes and debates are a mixture of pre-prepared (topic known a week in advance) and secret (topic known an hour in advance) debates.[6]
  • The ANU Douse Trophy competition is for year 11 & 12 students. Each debater speaks for 7–8 minutes and debates are a mixture of pre-prepared and secret.[7]
  • The Junior Crime Prevention competition is for years 6-9. he competition is held in the will be in Australian format with two teams per debate, each with three speakers. There are no reply speeches and topics are known at least a week in advance. New for 2010, Year 9 students may take part in either or both of the Junior or Senior competitions. The speaking time for the competition is 4–5 minutes.[8]
  • The Senior Crime Prevention competition is for years 9-12. The competition is held in the British Parliamentary format which involves four teams with two members each. It is run in conjunction with the Australian Federal Police and debate subjects reflect issues in the areas of law and order, justice, crime and punishment. The speaking time for the competition is 6–7 minutes, with points of information.[9]

New South Wales Debating Union[edit]

The New South Wales Debating Union (NSWDU) is an independent not-for-profit organization that seeks to promote and develop debating in New South Wales. Its primary focus is on teaching and promoting debating to high school students. It holds regular workshops at schools across the state run by experienced debating adjudicators and coaches who offer their services on a voluntary basis[citation needed]. Unique amongst other members of the ADF, the NSWDU does not administer local debating competitions.[10]

New South Wales has been the most successful state having won 11 times and been runner-up 10 times[citation needed].

Northern Territory Debating Union[edit]

The Northern Territory Debating Union (NTDU) is a not-for-profit school debating association in the Northern Territory. It conducts Australian-style debates to train and encourage secondary school students to take an interest in world affairs, public speaking and debating. It is responsible for determining the group of debaters who will compete in the Australian Schools Debating Championships.

Queensland Debating Union[edit]

The Queensland Debating Union (QDU) is the association which promotes school-level debating in Queensland. The Union runs debating competitions and activities between primary and secondary schools within the state.

South Australian Debating Association[edit]

The South Australian Debating Association (SADA) is a not-for-profit organisation established in 1967 which operates across the state of South Australia to provide debating for school and university students in the state. The SADA is mainly co-ordinated by university students and young graduates, most of whom have debated, coached and/or adjudicated at national and international levels. The Association runs the state's premier Schools' Competition, and supervises the co-ordination of the Adelaide University Debating Society (AUDS).

The SADA has been running the state's premier School's Competition since its foundation in 1967, and currently involves around 180 teams from Government, Independent and Catholic schools around metropolitan Adelaide. The competition is held in five rounds for years 7-10, and four rounds Senior B- and A-Grade; finals are also held in each level for the top-ranked teams.

Tasmanian Debating Union[edit]

The Tasmanian Debating Union (TDU) is an association which promotes school-level debating in Tasmania. Founded in 1981, the Union runs debating competitions and activities, and sends a team each year to represent Tasmania at the Australian National Schools Debating Championships.

Debaters Association of Victoria[edit]

The Debaters Association of Victoria (DAV) is a not-for-profit incorporated association, aiming "to facilitate effective debate in Victoria".

The Debaters Association of Victoria was formed in the late 1920s after an amalgamation of pre-existing debating societies. It is the largest debating body in Australia. Its Schools Competition, in which more than 10,000 debaters compete each year, is one of the largest debating competitions in the world. The association also trains the Victorian Schools Debating Team and runs a variety of school-level debating programs including the Junior Secondary Program and a British Parliamentary tournament.

Beyond school-level debating, the association coordinates debating tournaments for adults and provides a range of debating services to the wider community, including adjudication and communication training.

Western Australian Debating League[edit]

The Western Australian Debating League (WADL) is a non-profit incorporated association founded in 1969 that facilitates debating competitions in Western Australia. The WADL also organises debating competitions in regional Western Australia and for adults.

Other Debating Unions or Associations[edit]

Debating SA Incorporated[edit]

Debating SA Incorporated (Debating SA) is a not-for-profit organisation that operates across the state of South Australia to provide debating activities for Primary and Secondary School students. The organisation runs an annual inter-school debating competition.[11][12][13]

In addition to its schools' competition, the organisation has on numerous occasions provided debaters and adjudicators for public debates such as the Stirring the Possum 'Joey' Debate conducted by the Department for Environment and Heritage in 2008[14][15] and Tasting Australia Word of Mouth events.[16][17]

The organisation was originally formed as the Schools Debating Union (SDU) in 1991.[18] Upon incorporation in 2001, the organisation's name was changed to The Students' Debating Association of South Australia[18] and the trading name Students' Debating SA (SDSA)[18] was adopted. In 2003 the organisation's name was changed to Debating SA Incorporated.[18]

On Tuesday 29 January 2008, His Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANR, Governor of South Australia became the organisation's Patron.[12] A reception to welcome His Excellency the Governor as Patron was held at Adelaide High School on Monday 16 June 2008.[19]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nswdu.com/nswdu.com/History.html
  2. ^ http://dictionary.sensagent.com/AUSTRALIAN%20NATIONAL%20SCHOOLS%20DEBATING%20CHAMPIONSHIPS/en-en/
  3. ^ WSDC Hall of Fame retrieved on 10 December 2013
  4. ^ ACTDU About us retrieved on 25 March 2010
  5. ^ Ford Trophy retrieved on 25 March 2010
  6. ^ Murray Trophy retrieved on 25 March 2010
  7. ^ ANU Douse Trophy retrieved on 25 March 2010
  8. ^ Junior Crime Prevention retrieved on 25 March 2010
  9. ^ Senior Crime Prevention retrieved on 25 March 2010
  10. ^ ADF Website retrieved on 25 March 2010
  11. ^ "Debating SA Incorporated". www.sa.gov.au. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  12. ^ a b "Debating SA Incorporated". Our Community. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  13. ^ "Community Marketing". Community CPS Australia. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  14. ^ "Money or the environment…What’s more important to our youth?". Department for Environment and Heritage (South Australia). Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  15. ^ "2008 Stirring the Possum 'Joey' Debate". Debating SA Incorporated. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  16. ^ "Debate: The Kitchen is the Centre of the Universe". Tasting Australia. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  17. ^ "James Squire Food, Beer and Wine Writer's Festival Debate". Debating SA Incorporated. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  18. ^ a b c d "Historical details for 89 597 137 765". business.gov.au. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  19. ^ "Reception to Welcome His Excellency the Governor of South Australia as Patron". Debating SA Incorporated. Retrieved 2010-04-03.