About Us

Debaters go on to be our leaders in society across a diverse range of disciplines and industries, and for some it is the stepping-stone that changes their life.

Debating SA is South Australia’s premier debating organisation. We provide supportive and challenging opportunities for school students of all abilities to debate in an exceptionally well-run, friendly, and professional program that is challenging, enjoyable, and most of all, fun.

With over 1400 students from more than 60 member schools forming nearly 300 teams, we operate South Australia’s largest, most diverse and most comprehensive interschool debating competition, held from May to September each year.

Debating SA aims to:

  • Actively promote debating, free speech, and debating-related activities that enable young people to become creative, active and knowledgeable citizens.
  • Actively lead the way in providing comprehensive training to young people to enable participation and excellence in all aspects of debating.
  • Provide a diverse debating program of substance whereby people of all ages can practise and improve their skills with participants from other schools or groups.
  • Develop world-class training and resource materials that will assist in the promotion of debating at all levels.
  • Encourage schools from across all sectors to fully participate.
  • Foster a network of adjudicators and debaters keen to promote our organisation and debating in South Australia.

Inclusive School Representation

As a not-for-profit association, we welcome and actively encourage participation of students from all three schooling sectors: Government, Catholic Education and Independent.

View the diverse range of participants on our Member Schools page.

South Australia’s Most Experienced Team

Our team is South Australia’s most experienced team consisting of professionals, many of whom are teachers and educators. With over 50 years’ combined experience, Sonja Lowen (Training and Resources Officer) and James Tran (Administrative Officer) are highly knowledgeable and bring a huge depth of experience and wisdom to debating in South Australia. They are supported by a Board of Management comprised of experienced professionals from a wide range of industries, including Education, Technology, Law, Accounting and Medicine.

Independent and Curriculum-Focused

As an independent organisation, free from the constraints of a national body, we have tailored our program to meet the local needs of South Australian students so that they are nurtured to become “…confident and creative individuals, successful learners, and active and informed members of the community” in line with the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration 2019; an educational declaration which has the support of all Australian State and Territory Education Ministers.

Our program has strong links to the Australian Curriculum: English and the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities, providing schools the ability to extend students’ opportunities to engage with the core curriculum.

Extensive Training and Rigorous Adjudicator Development

We conduct an extensive range of training programs for students, teachers, coaches from beginner level to advanced and ongoing development. Our student programs are designed to give participants practical hands-on experience with the concepts and rules of debating, as well as associated skills from the disciplines of public speaking and philosophy. Our teacher and coach programs offer high quality Professional Learning to participants that is mapped against the AITSL Teacher Standards.

Our adjudication program is South Australia’s most detailed and rigorous to ensure that we provide a high standard of feedback to participants to develop their skills in competitive debating. We actively monitor, support and build capacity in our adjudicators to continually improve their practice as mentors for young people. Our adjudicators are also available for hire for corporate and intercollegiate debates.