Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships

Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships

The Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships (known colloquially as "Australs") is an annual debating tournament for teams from universities in the Australasian region. It is one of the world's largest debating tournaments, second only in size to the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC), and one of the largest annual student events in the world. Australs follows the Australia-Asian Debating format (three speakers plus replies), rather than the British Parliamentary Style used at WUDC. It is held every year in early-July under the auspices of the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Association (AIDA). The host university is selected a year before at a meeting of the AIDA Council.

Since the inaugural tournament at the University of Sydney in 1975, Australs has continually expanded the scope of its participants, now attracting around 300 competitors each year from around the Asia-Pacific region. Australs was significantly modernised in 1993 when a new constitution was introduced by then AIDA President. The Constitution provided for standard rules of debate and adjudication, and provided for extended voting rights for non-Australian and New Zealand participants. Currently teams come from Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines. [cite news |first=Paul | last=Mulrooney | title=Students compete in war of words | date=July 3, 2006 (retrieved 10 June 2006) | publisher=Stuff| url=,2106,3719285a7694,00.html]

Prior to the inception of the AIDA in 1990, there were occasional problems with the administration and rule-format for Australs, as the running of the tournament was left to the host university, with a meeting of all Universities at the end of the competition. There was little ongoing supervision of the hosts, and adjudication standards varied widely.

In 1992 an Affirmative Action requirement was introduced to that one third of each University's contingent must be female, unless the circumstances could be justified. This was prompted by the poor representation of female debaters at Australs. In 1990 only 8% of all speakers eligible to make the finals at Australasian championships were female, although women were over-represented as adjudicators. In 1991, the year before the introduction of Affirmative Action, the first women's meeting was held to discuss ways to combat the problem, At that time the participation rate had risen to 21%, with the introduction of a number of universities as first-time participants. Few women however were represented in the Finals. The intention behind the introduction of the rule was that it would encourage universities to promote debating to a large number of potential members and train their debaters before they attended Australs. It was also thought that this would encourage a greater diversity of speaking styles, rather than what was seen as a very agressive style by a number of very successful and talented Australian male debaters, and this would benefit all debaters and universities.

The best speaker of the tournament is awarded the "Martin Sorensen Trophy", and the best speaker of the Grand Final is awarded the "Jock Fanselow Cup".

Australs will next be held at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, in July 2009.

Past Champions and Hosts

Detailed history of recent past championships

Ateneo de Manila University (Manila, the Philippines) 2008

Ateneo Australs 2008 will be remembered for the most efficient tabbing in recent IV history, with day two running one hour ahead of schedule. The social functions were also well regarded. Most notable among them was Women's Night, which featured the controversial topic 'That pre and post-opt transsexuals should be allowed into women-only groups' and included guest speeches from the President of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines and the Director of the Women's Studies program at the University of the Philippines. The adjudication team was composed of Chief Adjudicator Bobby Benedicto (Ateneo) and Deputy Chief Adjudicators Rob Leeds (University of Queensland), Liz Sheargold (University of Melbourne), and Tate Thomas (Multimedia University). The tournament was won by the University of Sydney (Julia Bowes, Naomi Oreb and Steve Hind) in a 6-1 split decision over Monash University (Victor Finkel, Sashi Balaraman and Kiran Iyer). Sydney 2 (Bronwyn Cowell, Tim Mooney, and Jack Wright) and Ateneo 1 (Charisse Borromeo, Kip Oebanda, and Sharmila Parmanand) were the beaten semi-finalists. Sydney 1 went through the tournament undefeated, with Naomi Oreb the deserving winner of the Martin Sorensen Trophy for Best Speaker. Oreb also won the Jock Fanselow Cup for Best Speaker in the Grand Final. Remarkably, and for the first time in recent memory, all six of Sydney's teams qualified for the octo-finals, although only teams 1-3 were eligible to take part due to the cap on more than three teams from one institution taking part in the break. International Islamic University Malaysia won the ESL competition. Monash University won the bid to host the tournament in 2009, defeating a rival bid from Keio University (Japan) by a 30-16 margin.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) 2007

UT Mara hosted the largest Australs ever, with 108 teams taking part, including a large number from Malaysia. The organisation of the tournament was often problematic. Most tabs were several hours late, and there were few social events, as on several days debates did not finish until late at night. The Chief Adjudicator was Iqbal Hafiedz from UT Mara, assisted by Eleanor Uy (Philippines), Lucia Pietrapaoli (Australia) and Tim Sonnreich (Australia) as DCAs. The University of Queensland B (Andrew Hodge, Kristen Price, and Mitchell Grady) team beat Victoria University of Wellington A (Christopher Bishop, Stephen Whittington, and Sayeqa Islam) in the final, the first win for Queensland. Sayeqa Islam from Victoria University of Wellington was the best speaker on the tab - only the second speaker outside of Australia to win the prize, and the first New Zealander. Islam was also the best speaker in the Grand Final. Monash University 1 (Tim Jeffrie, Amit Golder and Fiona Prowse) and the University of Queensland 3 (Alice Heathcoate, Oliver Badenhorst and Nihal Shekhar Kumta) were the beaten semi-finalists. University of Malaya 1 won the ESL competition. Ateneo de Manila and Monash University fought a fierce battle for the right to host Australs 2008; with Ateneo eventually prevailing.

Victoria University of Wellington (Wellington, New Zealand) 2006

Victoria hosted what was at the time the largest Australs ever (78 teams). The tournament is widely recognised as being the best ever held, a title which was bestowed on the tournament by a group of old and experienced Australs participants at the Championship Dinner. The tournament was notable for its excellent social events, including a traditional Maori opening ceremony, cocktail functions, a Women's Night function at the New Zealand Parliament, a test debate at a local bar involving a transgender ex-prostitute Member of Parliament, and a glittering Grand Final. The Chief Adjudicator was Kevin Moar from Victoria, with Rajesh Krishnan (Singapore) and Kylie Lane (Australia) as DCAs. The tournament was won by Monash University 1 (Tom Chapman, Roland Dillon, and Jacob Clifton) who defeated the University of Melbourne 1 (Jess Moir, Lucia Pietrapaoli, and Elizabeth Sheargold) in the final. Ateneo de Manila University 1 (Charisse Borromeo, Leloy Claudio, Sharmila Parmanand) and Multimedia University 1 (Sumithra Rajendra, Balloons, Big Boy) were the beaten semi-finalists. Elizabeth Sheargold from Melbourne 1 won the best speaker prize. Australs 2006 saw the introduction of the Jock Fanselow Cup for the best speaker of the Grand Final. The inaugural winner was Roland Dillon from Monash, who was also 2nd on the tab. Universiti Teknologi Mara won the ESL competition, and bid unopposed for the right to host Australs 2007.

University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia) 2005

Queensland hosted the second successive Australs to be held in Australia. The Chief Adjudicator was Rob Leeds from Queensland, assisted by Sumithra Rajendra (Malaysia), Andrew Fitch (Australia), and Bobby Benedicto (Philippines) as DCAs. The tournament was won by the University of Sydney Union 2 (Patrick Meagher, Ivan ah Sam, and Brad Lancken) who defeated Ateneo de Manila University 1 (Leloy Claudio, Charisse Borromeo, and Sharmila Parmanand) in the final. Ivan ah Sam topped the tab.

University of Technology, Sydney (Sydney, Australia) 2004

UTS 2004 saw the introduction of DCAs for Australs. Ani Satchithananda from the University of Sydney was the CA, assisted by Latif from International Islamic University as the DCA. The tournament was won by Monash University 1 (Kylie Lane, Tim Sonnreich, and Roland Dillon) who beat Multimedia University 1 in the final (Suthen Thomas, Prasanth Sreesanth, and Logandran Balavijendran), the first team from Asia to make the final. University of Sydney (Dominic Thurbon, Brad Lancken and Ivan Ah Sam) and Australian National University (Mat Kenneally) were semi finalists, It was Sonnreich's third Australs win. The best speaker was Mat Kenneally from the Australian National University, whose team broke 1st by an extremely large margin.

ee also

* World Universities Debating Championship
* European Universities Debating Championship
* North American Debating Championship
* Asian Universities Debating Championship
* All-Asian Intervarsity Debating Championships
* Australian Intervarsity Debating Championships
* Royal Malaysian Intervarsity Debating Championship
* List of debaters

External links

* [ 2007 Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships website]
* [ World Debate Website page on the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships]

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