The 2017 Australs at UQ (iStockphoto).
4 July 2017

The University of Queensland is hosting the 2017 Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships – the Australs.

From 1-9 July, university and high school students from domestic and international schools will participate and adjudicate in this year’s debating championships.

Governed and created by the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Association, the Australs is one of the largest debating competitions in the world.

The UQ Debating Society (UQDS) will host the Australs, and UQ is no stranger to the great debate, having participated since its inception at the University of Sydney in 1975.

The Australs began as a competition between university debating societies from Australia and New Zealand.

This year 77 teams and 115 judges from 32 institutes across the Asia-Pacific region will take part.

UQDS Convenor Mr Tasman Bain said, 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,” Mr Bain said.

“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.”

This year, for the first time, a team from the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Moscow will be in attendance.

In a tournament with such international reach, the Australs have become not only a forum for debate, but a cultural exchange as well.

Throughout the tournament week, eight preliminary rounds are held from 3-5 July where teams will go head-to-head. Due to the competitive nature of the tournament, debate topics are unknown to teams – including themes of topics – until 30 minutes before the debate commences.

Chosen themes can extend to a diverse range of topics, and last year’s Australs covered a swathe of topics including feminism, tax, international relations, indigenous peoples/culture, religion, workplace relations, animal rights, freedom of speech, philosophy, the media, and criminal justice.

Finals of the Australs will be open to the public on 7-8 July. For more information visit the UQ Australs 2017 website or Facebook page.

The UQ Debating Society last hosted the Australs in 2005.

Media: Tasman Bain,, +61 429 194 517