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University of Sydney Union wins Australian Debating Championships

USU 1 beat UNSW 1 to claim the Championship.

The University of Sydney Union emerged victorious at the Australian Intervarsity Debating Championships (also known as ‘Easters’) last night for the first time since 2017. USU 1, consisting of Eugene Bakker, Brendon Chen and Aidan Woo, faced off against UNSW 1 in the competition final. They won the majority of the adjudication panel with a nail-biting 3-2 split.

The team affirmed the motion ‘That we support the development and use of moral enhancement drugs’, with moral enhancement drugs defined as including but not limited to  “drugs that make someone more empathetic, altruistic, or compassionate”. 

To reach the final, the team debated in six preliminary rounds over Tuesday and Wednesday, before progressing through octo, quarter, and semifinals on Thursday. Nine other USU teams competed in the tournament. USU 2, consisting of Katarina Kuo, William Price and Jon Ryan, reached the octofinals and USU 4, consisting of Oscar Chaffey, Sam Druce and Matt Toomey, reached the semifinals.

The USU also contributed all of the top five best judges of the tournament and 50% of the top ten novice speakers.

The tournament, which was hosted by Monash University this year, is Australia’s highest level intervarsity tournament. USyd last hosted it in 2018. 

The USU remains among the most competitive university debating societies in the world; teams from the society reached the semifinals of the Australasian and World Intervarsity Championships in 2021. 

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