Debating premiership comes home

by William Fogg, Emmanuel College debating team

The Emmanuel College debating team has brought home the ICC Debating premiership for the third year in a row, and the seventh time in the past eight years, in a close grand-final debate against Grace College. The grand-final was the culmination of a long semester of debating, in which the Emmanuel team distinguished themselves in the qualifying stages, defeating Duchesne, King’s and Union, with one loss to The Women’s College. Under the guidance of our coach, and Emmanuel debating legend, James Gover (EMC 2016-18) and convenor Matisse Reed, we refined our skills over the course of the semester and were a well-oiled machine by the finals.

Initially, we were lined up to face off against Cromwell in the quarter-final round, but after the ICC informed us that there had been a mistake, we found ourselves facing St John’s instead. The topic was whether it is better to have non-binding but aspirational international treaties, or weak but enforceable ones. A win in the quarters sent us to the semi-finals versus King’s, where we successfully debated whether young adults should be encouraged to pursue their dream careers at the potential cost of financial security.

In the grand-final we debated over whether Queensland schools should introduce LGBTQ+ inclusive sexual education, with Emmanuel taking the affirmative position and Grace the negative. The tension was high as we entered the preparation room, which was heightened by a few issues relating to the topic. The crisis was resolved, and we entered the lecture hall feeling well prepared. Buoyed by the energy of our fellow Blue Dogs, who had braved a cold night and multiple delays to watch us, we took our seats. Matisse Reed was our first speaker, with Islwyn Wilson on second, Sanni Bosamia on third and myself as the host of the debate. The debate was close due to great performances by both teams; tensions were high in parts, as the controversial topic was debated, but the debate was also punctuated by moments of humour. A special mention should go to Islwyn, who was debating practically blind after losing his glasses, but knocked it out of the park anyway.

The team would like to extend our thanks to James for giving up so much of his time coaching us this semester, Matisse for convening, Emmanuel College Cultural Convenors FitMalau-Aduli and Will Chesmond for helping organise, and to everyone who came out and supported us at the debates. Here’s to another big season for Emmanuel debating in 2020!