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Local team favourite in debating championships

Local team favourite in debating championships

The world’s second largest debating tournament—the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships or “Australs”—is coming to Wellington, with the Victoria University team a strong favourite.

The Australs, which start on 2 July and run till 10 July, regularly attract about 300 competitors each year from the Asia-Pacific region, with teams from as far a field as Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

Australs 2006 will be hosted in the Capital by Victoria University’s Debating Society—DebSoc—three times Australs winners and the only New Zealand university to win the championship.

Tournament convenor, Christopher Bishop, says the Australs are considered the most intellectually demanding debating championships in the world and are recognised for its high standards of debating and adjudicating. Debaters have 30 minutes to prepare a case on topics ranging from regional politics, international economic policy, sport, culture, religion and philosophy.

“More than 70 teams will be competing for the right to be called Australasian Champions for 2006. In the tournament’s 30 year history, DebSoc has taken the titles three times and I’m confident the team is well-placed to win again this year.”

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pat Walsh, is hoping the local team will triumph again.

“The Australs are a significant event in debating, so it is wonderful to be hosting the tournament here in Wellington.

“Victoria has a long history of excellence in debating—most recently our debating teams took first, second and third place at the University Games recently held in Wellington.

“I’m looking forward to some great debates at the Australs, and another win by Victoria.”

The Hon John McGrath, Justice of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, is the Patron of the Australs 2006. Justice McGrath will make a speech at the Grand Final of the Championships, and present the prizes to the winning team and the runners-up.

The Australs will be held at Victoria University's Pipitea Campus with the semi-finals at Old St Paul’s Cathedral and Parliament's Legislative Council Chamber and the final at the Michael Fowler Centre.


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