by James Gover, Emmanuel College Debating Team
The Emmanuel College debating team — Islwyn Wilson (1st Speaker), Kai Matsumoto (2nd Speaker), James Gover (3rd Speaker), and Matthew Diamond (Prep Helper), with Callan Morgan and Juhi Malhotra filling in as Prep Helper and 1st Speaker respectively — had a brilliant 2017 season, culminating with a win in the Inter-College Competition grand-final.
As first-year students, the speakers had no university debating experience, so the team participated in some pre-season sessions. With two Emmanuel alumni, Crispin Scott and Ryan Minuti, taking on coaching roles, we quickly gained skills and experience.
The four debaters suited up for the first debate, rocking the Emmanuel bow ties and feeling a decent amount of nerves. It was a successful first round against Union College debating for private school funding. After a few strong rounds, the first and only loss came against Duchesne College in a good debate on whether the media should have the power to hack people’s phones in the public interest. A few debates later and the team had made it into the quarter-finals with Emmanuel paired off against King’s College debating for a ban on teacher strikes. Emmanuel emerged victorious from this and from the debate against The Women’s College as negative to the motion “we should put citizenship on the international market”. It was then on to the grand-final against St John’s College.
After some close competitions between Emmanuel and John’s earlier in the year, the pressure and excitement was on. The lecture theatre at UQ was full to overflowing with people sitting on the stairs. The Emmanuel team — as affirmative and championing the wordy and technical motion “the tax office should be able to retrospectively make using aggressive accounting practices to exploit tax loopholes illegal” — edged out John’s in what was a skilled and competitive debate to claim the ICC trophy.