Taylor’s University debaters headed off to Australia to compete in the Australs tournament at the University of Queensland. The championship the second largest in the world, with seventy-seven teams competing.
TU Debate Team in Brisbane
This was the first time that Taylor's University Debaters club entered the annual Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championship (better known as the Australs) which were held this year at the University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane (Australia). Governed and created by the Australs is now one of the largest debating competitions in the world. This year, 77 teams and 115 judges from 32 institutions from across the Asia-Pacific region took part. As the host institution, the Convenor, Mr Tasman Bain, noted that with the increase of international participation, the Australs had become a vital international forum for university students. “University students from all backgrounds across the Asia-Pacific come together and respectfully debate challenging and topical issues,” he said, adding that “Debating is a uniquely important undertaking in the global context of social divisions, technological transformation and geopolitical conflict. Debating instils critical thinking and meaningful argumentation – skills that form the basis of and enhance a strong, civil society.”
Throughout the tournament week, eight preliminary rounds saw the teams went go head-to-head. Due to the competitive nature of the tournament, debate topics are unknown to teams – including themes of the topics – until 30 minutes before the debate commences. The range of topics covered the full spectrum of issues, including feminism, tax, international relations, indigenous peoples/culture, religion, workplace relations, animal rights, freedom of speech, philosophy, the media, and criminal justice. The Taylor's A team composed of Amrit Agastia (ADP), Felice Wong Jing-Yi (School of Education) and Choo Jian Tatt (School of Business and Law) while Taylor's B team includes Daniel Muk Zhi Shen (School of Business and Law), Katrina Empiang Adrian (ADP) and Tasia Khairunnisa Azzahra (School of Arts). David Benardy from the School of Communications was the Taylor’s institutional adjudicator. The Taylor's A team broke 9th in the Open Category, but they bowed out in the Open Octo-finals against Melbourne 2. Meanwhile
the Taylor's B team broke 4th in the English as a Second Language Category. However, they bowed out in the ESL Semi-finals against University of Malaya 1. Overall this was quite an achievement for the TU Debaters, given that this was their first appearance in such a prestigious tournament. Not many institutions attending for the first-time are able to make it through eight gruelling preliminary rounds. Tasia Khairunnisa Azzahra, who only started recently started debating with Taylor's University Debaters said that, ''This experience was entirely new and very rewarding thanks to the great guidance and support I've received from the debating club''. This year’s winners were Australian National University. In 2018, the University of Malaya will be the hosting the Austral tournament in KL. To find out more about the Taylor’s University Debaters click here (Global Matters 2017)