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Palladian Debating: St Andrew’s Claims the Gold

August 18, 2016

This past weekend, the College community was treated to an extremely exciting debating competition filled with high quality talent from all Colleges. It is a delight to announce that in a very close race, the Androvians placed first. A great win for the team, as well as for St Andrew’s overall standing in the Palladian competition.

The Intercollege debating competition is comprised of six teams, each of which has three speakers. The adjudicators are different for each debate, all of whom come from the Sydney University Debating Society and have adjudicated on an international level. Which team takes the positive or negative side is fairly divided and decided by Intercollege officials who create the draw. Teams receive a choice of three topics at the start of the debate and rank each in order of preference. The adjudicator announces the topic based on this selection and teams have half an hour to prepare their arguments.

This year’s team consisted of third year, Genevieve Sergeant as first speaker, sophomore, Robbie Ferguson as second, and sophomore, Theodora Von Arnim, as third (all of whom participate in the Sydney University Debating Society). fResher, Hal Crichton-Standish and sophomore, Stuart Hutton, also helped out introducing speakers during our home debates. Each equipped with significant debating experience, not to mention hugely impressive general knowledge on all things debatable, the team set out on a fierce campaign against the other Colleges.

In the first debate, Drew’s faced off against Paul’s. The topic was ‘Conservatives from oppressed minorities should not represent conservative political parties that have oppressive social policies’, and Drew’s argued the negative side. Both teams went back and forth with fascinating points and examples for each side, however it was Drew’s who came out victorious.

Next, the Androvians endured a heated examination with Wesley on the notion that ‘Tertiary education should be free for everyone.’ Drew’s argued the affirmative side in what turned out to be an absolute nail-biter of a debate. Coming from the audience’s perspective, it was certainly difficult to decide with which side to agree by the end! Unfortunately, in what the adjudicator referred to as “the closest a debate can be to a tie”, Wesley won the overall debate.

However, the team kept their heads held high entering their next debate against Women’s. With Drew’s arguing the negative side, the two teams explored the proposal that: ‘The US and EU should refuse all aid to Israel until a two state solution has been reached.’ As it turns out the adjudicator in this particular debate happened to have a niche area of interest in internal Israeli politics, thus imposing high standards for both sides. After a fascinating discussion, Drew’s were announced as the winners for this topic.

The team powered on as they then faced Sancta, debating for the affirmative side on the matter of ‘The state should not provide legal recognition and support to charities whose main goal is to raise awareness.’ In this debate, a bit of comic relief was provided to what had so bar been a very serious campaign, as Sancta brought a very special spectator – the College dog!

Finally, Drews faced their last match in the regular competition against John’s. The topic was that: ‘We should allow employees to receive higher wages in exchange for not joining a union”, which is apparently a fairly stock-standard topic in debating at this level. This was arguably one of the most high quality debates of the entire Palladian campaign, with both teams presenting particularly valid ideas and overwhelmingly convincing arguments. I think most of the crowd would have been glad not to be the adjudicator! After extensive explanations from both sides, Andrew’s gained their fourth win in the regular round.

The Palladian debating competition does not normally include a final, however, this particular campaign proved to be a bit more complicated. While Andrews’ total number of speaker points was the highest, Wesley and Paul’s were tied on the same number of both wins and points.  The Intercol committee decided to do a semi and a final as speaker points can be quite subjective. Thus Wesley and Paul’s faced off in a semi final, in which Paul’s won so went on to face Drew’s in the final (Wesley taking third place).

In a very exciting and crowded final, Drew’s and Paul’s debated the topic: ‘Feminists should not engage in ironic misandry.’ Whilst Drew’s debated the negative side (decided via a coin flip for the final), Drew’s did not in fact have to prove that every feminist should engage in ironic misandry. The team instead had to show that those who did were empowered, and empowering women is something that the feminist movement should always support. The Drew’s team also showed that ironic misandry was undoubtedly good for feminism, noting several plausible points and examples.

After a long and tough fight, the Androvians were granted first place – a very exciting time for the debating team and the Palladian campaign overall.

A huge well-done must go to all Colleges and debaters who worked extremely hard over the entire campaign.

We are looking forward to the next Palladian events coming up this semester, such as group vocal on the 30 August and Palladian Art on 13 September.

– Hilary Shannon

 

 

 

 

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