CAS Debating: Round 5

1st III

It was certainly a momentous occasion on 20 August for Trinity’s First III Debating Team. Team members W. Martin (12WH), K. Kwok (12WH) and J. Perera (12La) took part in their last ever formal debate representing the School, marking the end of an unorthodox yet fulfilling season as well as the members’ high school debating careers. Against a strong Knox team who were eventual winners of the competition, Trinity negated the topic “That we should not allow United States military bases on Australian territory”. Keen to lay down a marker, Knox flew out of the traps with the stance that Australia should seek to maintain good relations with both China and the United States, and that building such bases would promote conflict. Unfazed by the Knox team’s reputation and blessed with the presence of the largest spectator crowd of the season thus far, first speaker W. Martin (12WH) expertly pointed out that having military bases on Australian soil would not only strengthen Australia’s national defence in case of conflict, but also act as effective deterrence against potential aggressors, noting that military conflict was unlikely to occur. Knox rallied by further outlining the lack of incentive and even domestic harms that Australia would suffer with the bases, but second speaker K. Keith (12WH) valiantly retaliated with the observation that Australia would be better off accepting the sunk cost in utilising the economic benefit existing bases bring in the status quo, and that actively rejecting the bases would bring more marginal detriment towards the historically strong US-Australian relationship as compared to strengthening the already-fractured Sino-Australian relationship. Faced with a very strong conclusion from the Knox team, third speaker J. Perera (12La) was motivated by the expanding audience size. He continued to attack a lack of mechanism in Knox’s model of removing bases, and proposed that it was essential for Australia to maintain a single standard with regards to all countries’ bases, and outlined the potential benefit of these bases to rural Australian communities. Despite Trinity wrapping up the debate with a series of compelling rebuttals, we fell just short of coming away with a win against our undefeated Knox rivals. 

A profound and emotional vote of thanks delivered by Debating Captain J. Perera (12La), that nearly exceeded the length of his third speaker speech, hallmarked the conclusion of the Debate. After this, the team received feedback from our coach, whose efforts, and those of all the coaches, must be acknowledged in the integral role of their guidance. However, the final marker of this being the ‘last dance’ was the ridiculously-too-late-at-night dinner, after the debate; illustrating just another example of the sacrifices made by parents of the Debating Society. Whether travelling across Sydney, sitting in the background of the virtual Debate, or reconfiguring Friday nights for the past 6+ years to work around Debating, the efforts of parents are perpetually under-thanked but do not go unnoticed. A member of the Joey’s Debating fraternity recently remarked that “Trinity has the best fan base in Sydney Schoolboy Debating,” and we thank our legion of fans. This includes Mr. Ikeuchi who, aside from all his support inside the classroom, spent last Friday night spectating our Debate against a formidable St Aloysius’ side, wherein we were fortunate to have a topic that featured a lot of IB Economics. 

Finally, the efforts of Mr. Christopher Taplin, Co-ordinator of Debating, for this season to occur must be lauded. A common reflection made this CAS season during the vote of thanks within Firsts Debates has been how grateful Year 12 Debaters are for some sort of a season to have transpired. This has only been possible due to all the work that has been put forward to ensure that we have had this opportunity. This season has run quite successfully with very few hiccups, a testament to Mr Taplin’s organisation of this season.

We now shift our focus to our trials and final exams, but more importantly, our blossoming Mock Trial career and endeavour to atone for our forthcomings in Debating within the realm of the courtroom, wherein we are strengthened by the addition of D. Wang (12La), who has ardently supported our Debating endeavours this season. I have no doubt that Trinity Debating will continue to flourish, and wish next year’s leaders all the best.

K. Kwok (12WH) (Debate Summary) and J. Perera (12La) (Vote of thanks)

2nd III: Review of the CAS Season

It was Leon Trotsky who said Revolutions are always verbose. If such wisdom is to be believed, this CAS season for the Trinity Grammar 2nds have mobilized a linguistic arsenal of unparalleled might and destructive power to topple empires, ravage regimes and bring about a permanent revolution. The novelty of debating online required a flexibility and adaptability that strengthened the resolve and skill of all involved. J. Ming (11Yo) consistently utilized his oratorical speed and efficiency to blitzkrieg his opponents. Such devastating deployment saw him shatter the circular logic of the negative team in the second round. Whilst some are born great, some achieve greatness, and for H. Davidson-McLeod (11Ta) greatness was thrust upon him. The unrestrained implementation of his full faculty of words decimated the spirit of his enemies and made his teammates happier than ever. J. May (11Yo) left behind naught but a trail of broken dreams and flawed reasoning. As first response, he let loose the dogs of war to annihilate any arguments put against him. With the spectacle of digital debating fading into the distant past, this triumvirate waits in anticipation for the chance to learn from their losses and come back stronger than ever. Whilst we may have lost the battle, we have not yet lost the war. To those who seek to challenge the strength and skill among us we say to you: we are waiting, we are prepared, and we will show you destruction on a scale unbeknownst to the modern world.

J. May (11Yo)

10As

In the final debate of the 2021 CAS season the 10A’s debated against the powerhouse of Knox Grammar. To say that the 10A team composed of V. Singleton (10WH), W. Taplin (10WH), A. Jacob (10Fo) and C. Kong (10La) went into this debate expecting an easy victory would be a blatant lie, especially considering that the debate fell into the general topic area of international relations, a topic that none of us had ever experienced outside of training. The topic we received was “That we should not allow United States military bases on Australian territory” and we were tasked with arguing against the topic. Our preparation time was well spent and we entered the debate with strong arguments and analogies.

Knox’s first speaker argued the idea that removing U.S bases from Australian soil would mend our trade relationship while simultaneously arguing that the presence of American troops would still be welcome and we would not be denying the U.S access to our training facilities.

Trinity’s first speaker pointed out these points to be contradictory before delivering his substantive, which consisted of the argument that we need the U.S bases to maintain a strong presence in the Pacific and South China Sea. Additionally, he argued that the bases are an important aspect of maintaining diplomatic and military cohesion with the U.S based on the fact that the bases are important symbols of the strength of democracy and the influence of the U.S in the Pacific.

Knox’s second speaker responded by saying that military cooperation would still take place between the U.S and Australia and that the U.S didn’t need its bases in Australia because it already has bases on islands such as Guam. He then proceeded onto his substantive, an argument that their model would provide the Australian military with greater freedom and autonomy.

This point was refuted by Trinity’s second speaker, who compared the logic of this argument by saying that disconnecting a critically ill person from life support doesn’t kill them, it just makes them more autonomous. He also reinforced Trinity’s first speaker’s argument that forsaking our alliance with the U.S will not heal our relationship with China. He also twisted Knox’s first speaker’s argument that military cooperation would still exist between the U.S and Australia after the withdrawal of U.S bases by highlighting that to do so would harm our relationship greatly with the U.S, while also stating that the U.S needs permanent bases to operate out of to give them greater geographical reach in the Pacific. He then argued his substantive, revolving around the ideas that removing U.S bases would be counter-intuitive due to the amount of resources that the U.S have put into these bases as well as the fact that the bases serve to protect Australia’s interests. All of these points were backed up with strong analogies.

Knox’s third speaker then delivered his summary of the debate in which he stated that the two main issues of the debate were the issues of which side of the debate would bring more economic benefits and the issue of which side of the debate provided more military autonomy for Australia. He promoted his team’s solution well, although he did make several seemingly irrelevant statements and arguments.

Trinity’s third speaker then responded by highlighting the irrelevance of these arguments as well as by summarizing Trinity’s side of the argument with great depth, ultimately proving that the benefits of allowing American bases on Australian soil far outweigh any possible risks attracted as a result. He also simultaneously debunked many of the opposition’s points, providing a strong end to the debate.

The debate ended with a well-earned victory for Trinity, ending the CAS season on a high note. Congratulations to V. Singleton (10WH), W. Taplin (10WH), A. Jacob (10FO) and C. Kong (10LA) for a stunning victory over our fabled opponents.

With the end of the season, I’d like to thank the MIC of Debating, Mr Taplin, for his efforts to work around the myriad technical hurdles and connection issues during online debates. I’d also like to thank the Captain and the Vice Captains of Debating for 2021, J. Perera (12La), W. Martin (12WH), K. Kwok (12WH) and D. Chuchra (12He) for their outstanding work this year. This year has not been easy by any metric, yet they have still managed to make things work, guiding and supporting the society during the difficult times of home learning.

W. Taplin (10WH)

9As

Last Friday on the 20th August, the 9A debating team pulled off a close win in their final debate against Knox with the topic “That we should never pay ransoms to terrorist organisations (topical given the situation in Afghanistan)”, with Trinity taking the affirmative side The speaking order for the debate was 1st A. Stone (9Ho), 2nd K. Suri (9Yo), 3rd J. Britton (9He) and 4th J. Fung (9Ke).  

The first affirmative came up and from the outset, categorized the current status quo in a negative light, defined the topic and proposed a model which would outlaw the selling of ransoms by individuals and governments (because who doesn’t love banning stuff). Alternative ideas such as increased protection and military programs were suggested but weren’t clearly fleshed out or explained with sufficient detail. Additionally, he said that ransoms fund the growth of terrorist organisations, and these are people you cannot trust. In future, broader general knowledge and reference of examples would have enhanced the case, although the points were well fleshed out and explained throughout both first and second affirmative, and it was up to K. Suri (9Yo) to develop a strong rebuttal to enhance our point and case, along with his own substantive. 

Second Speaker brought out minor, but ever so important points on the economic impacts and the distrust of terrorist organisations and had thorough rebuttals against some tough points, questions and flaws pointed out by the first negative in our arguments.

Third speaker, Joseph, closed our case strongly with strong rebuttals and pointing out the main themes of the moral high ground, and what will slow down terrorism more; leaving a strong and cohesive speech that fortified the win.

Ultimately, we hope that the entire Year 9 debating cohort will improve in the future and prepare for the upcoming ISDA and FED debating season next year. The debate against Knox showed us a lot of areas from which we hope and need to improve to perform better next season, we will strive to continue to improve in the future.

J. Fung (9Ke)

7Bs

Last Friday, the 7B CAS debating team competed against students from Knox Grammar on the topic “That climate and environmental treaties should not require developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions” and we negated the motion.

Our opponents’ major arguments revolved around developing countries not being able to afford to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, which we rebutted quite well. Some of our arguments included the notion that the whole world is in this together and has a collective responsibility to take action for the greater good of the environment.

We were particularly pleased with how we demonstrated the opposition did not have a working model or definition and didn’t illustrate their case had any claim. Furthermore, our team provided strong rebuttals to leave the opponents’ case in tatters.

As always, there are always opportunities to improve our performances in future debates and we were grateful to the adjudicator for the comprehensive feedback. Things we need to work on in the future include cutting down our introductions, elaborate our arguments in greater detail and work on our time management skills. Clearly, we were all enthusiastic debaters on the night and consequently we all ran over the time limit!

Overall, it was fantastic to beat Knox in our final debate and end the CAS debating season on a positive note and I would like to personally thank our Captain of Debating, J. Perera (12La) for his support, feedback and ideas on how we can improve.

A.Viswanathan (7Ta)


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