About us

Debaters go on to be our leaders in society and business, and for some it is the stepping-stone that changes their life.


Debating SA is a not-for-profit association that conducts debating activities for schools and the wider community within South Australia.

The Association holds an annual interschool debating competition for Primary and Secondary Schools from May to September.

Debating SA also runs a range of extensive training programmes for schools and can supply adjudicators and coaches for community events.

Debating is an education-based activity that promotes the development of communication, interpersonal and leadership skills.

The Association encourages positive interaction between all its members so that each participant, from every background, feels supported and comfortable in the environment in which s/he participates.

Debating SA has clear goals and aims which are:

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Debating SA seeks to encourage and develop in young people the following:

Thinking and research skills

Communication skills

Social skills


About the Schools' Competition

The Schools' Competition is an interschool debating competition held each year from May to September (see Calendar). There are five different venues and each Primary or Secondary School team that enters debates approximately every three weeks at a designated venue as per the draw. Topics for debates are wide and varied. Secondary School teams contest a finals series which is held at the end of Term 3.

Teams and Divisions

Students enter the competition as teams of 3. Most teams choose to have an extra team member to allow for student illness and other unforseen commitments.

The competition is divided into seven divisions as follows:
• Year 5
• Year 6/7
• Year 8
• Year 9
• Year 10
• Senior: Combined Years 11 and 12
• Open: Experienced and advanced Secondary School debaters. Adult debaters are permitted to debate in this division.

Timeline of the Competition

Debates are held approximately every 3 weeks during Terms 2 and 3. Debates begin from 6:40pm. Times and specific debate details are sent to teams during Term 1.

Number of debates: 5 debates (except Senior and Open divisions which have 4 debates).
Finals: All divisions except Primary School.

Location of Debates

All debates are held in the Adelaide metropolitan area across five different school venues. Teams can choose the venue they debate at when they enter. See the Calendar for dates.

Rules, Regulations and Resources

The Standard Operating Procedures and The Official Debating Manual are two key documents that outline the procedure and technique of debating.

Debating resources are located on the resources page.

Grand Finalists

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