Debaters from the ANU attended the Australian Intervarsity Debating Championships over the term one holidays, achieving resounding success, breaking two of its nine teams into the finals series.
The Australian Intervarsity Debating Championships (otherwise known as “Easters) is one of the largest debating tournaments in the world, and is regularly attended by approximately four hundred debaters, including both novice debaters and former world champions. This year, the tournament was hosted on the Gold Coast by Griffith University, and was attended by universities from all across Australia.
The ANU’s teams 1 and 2 placed 10th and 8th respectively in the tournament, reaching the Octo-Finals before losing to other high-ranked teams in very close debates. Individual debating successes were achieved by Thomas Goldie, who ranked as fifth best speaker in the tournament, Richard Keys, who ranked as twenty-first best, and Jessy Wu, who ranked as the seventh best first year at the tournament.
PhD student Lachlan Umbers also “broke” as an adjudicator to finals series, an honour he shared with debating world champion James Beavis and 2013 World Championships top 10 speakers Chris Bisset, Elle Jones and Madeline Schultz.
However, it was not only the thrill of success, but also the experience of debating which seemed to resound in many ANU Debaters.
“Easters was a lot of fun, and a really good experience, particularly as a first year as it gave a really good intro into the world of uni debating,” said Grace Elkins, a first year in the ANU Easters contingent. ”I was adjudicating, which is something I hadn’t done a lot of before, so it was really good to learn the skill of judging debates.”
“I got to chair [debates] by the last round of the tournament which was pretty exciting.”
Debates are held between two teams of three, and debaters have thirty minutes to prepare speeches for motions such as “That South Korea should pre-emptively strike North Korea” and “That transgender people should form a new movement separate to the gay and lesbian movement”. The Australian debating circuit is world-renowned as one of the best debating circuits in the world, and Australian debaters regularly rank higher than their American Ivy League and Oxbridge counterparts.
The ANU hosted Easters in the year 2012. The tournament will be hosted in 2014 by the current world debating champions, Monash University.