2005 Debating in Parliament House

At Debating SA we aim to make our finals’ series a special event. We were privileged to hold our Year 10A and Senior A Grand Finals in Parliament House. Following is an article written by one of the Year 10A Grand Finalists.

In 2005, the Debating SA Year 10A and Senior A Grand Finals were held in our state’s very own Parliament House.  This debate was a cross-examination debate, allowing debaters to directly question their opposition for a period of two minutes during the debate. This format was well-suited to Parliament House.  Our Team, St. John’s Grammar School, had made it to the final after a tough season with a high standard of competition we faced MarryatvilleHigh school.  The topic for this debate was “That compulsory voting should be abolished.” and we were privilaged to be seated where both the government and the opposition would normally sit when in parliament.

Two state representatives attended, making the event even more special for us as debaters.

As debaters, our first problem was to overcome the room’s size as we were used to debating in a small sized classrooms.  The room’s acoustics however made up for this problem.  As the tension between both sides mounted, it was clear this was going to be a very close debate and one of high standard.  Both teams were clearly nervous about this once-in-a-lifetime experience and it was of great pride that we had made it that far.  The House was filled with family members and debating officials as they were all eager to see the outcome of this contest.

The debate began on time and the level of rebuttal and cross-examination was of a high standard.  It was clear the politicians were amazed at the level of public speaking displayed.  The debate was adjudicated by a panel of five and was intensely scrutinised to find a fair winner. In debating however there can only be one winner and it was a great learning experience to be bested by one of the states top teams.  It was a split decision however and I am told the scoring was very close.

It was an invaluable experience and one that I will never forget despite the outcome for our team. Both teams have been given a wonderful opportunity which they have taken and gained a lot from.  It is a great credit to Debating SA to have achieved such a prestigious venue for the Grand Final.

James Baker
St. John’s Grammar School – Year 10A Grand Finalist