Vic Debsoc

Guide to Australs Debates

Australs style debating is the most commonly known in New Zealand. It, or close variants on it, are used often at school level debating.

In an Australs debate there is an affirmative and a negative team, each with three speakers. Three potential moots are kept secret by an official.

  1. An official starts timing 30 minutes and the three topics are displayed in a place where both teams can see them.
  2. Each team ranks the three moots from 1 to 3 on which they would rather debate. 1 is the most preferred choice.
  3. The two teams come together and compare rankings. The moot(s) that each team ranked 3rd are automatically taken out, they will not be debated.
    a) there is only one moot remaining then that is the one which is debated.
    If b) there are two left, but the teams have ranked those two the same way, then the 1st ranked topic by both teams is debated.
    c) there are two left, and they have been ranked the opposite way, a coin toss is had to choose which team gets to use their 1st ranked moot.
  4. The teams then leave to prepare for the debate for the remainder of the 30 minutes being timed. The affirmative team is allowed to prepare in the designated room of the debate. The negative team must find somewhere else to prepare.
  5. After the 30 minutes is up the teams are summoned and the first affirmative speaker is called upon to begin the debate.

Speeches are from 6-8 minutes. One bell is given at 6 minutes and 2 at 8 minutes.As with Easters debating, the affirmative speaker of each position goes before the negative speaker of that same position.

Each team is given a 3-4 minute Leader’s reply, with one bell at 3 minutes and two at 4 minutes. Only the 1st or 2nd speakers of either team may give this reply. As with all styles which have replies, the negative reply goes first, immediately following the 3rd negative speech. The affirmative reply ends the debate.

Australs style debates are awarded in the same way as Easters debates, except that what is known as a “straight negative” is not allowed. This means that the negative team cannot simply show that the other team’s case will not work. They have to show either that it will make the problem established worse, or the negative must provide and prove a better means of solving the moot.