Video transcript
NSW Premier's Debating Challenge 2018 - Year 11 Metropolitan Final

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SABRINA MCKINDLAY: And my second speaker will be talking about the political world and Australia within that. On to my first point, why we get a more legitimate democracy under our side of the case. So firstly, as the affirmative, we'd like to look at what the PM actually does.

We think that the prime minister office of the party represents the views of the party at the time of the election. Why do we think this? We think that, firstly, they represent the party's views and goals at the time of the election. Secondly, the media attention centres on them. For example, when Tony Abbott was in Parliament, all the media attention was on his derogatory comments about women and refugees, saying that women are to stay at home doing the ironing and that they are all about sex appeal.

And we think that that, really, most of the time, reveals the attitude of the political party because of their leader. We think, thirdly, that they themselves are able to attract a lot of support from other party members because we see that they impact bills and the direction of the party. And they have massive influence on the party.

For example, the same-sex marriage debate, when party leaders changed within the Liberal Party, that whole debate affected millions of lives of millions of Australian people. And we thought that was just-- majority was of that, was because of the change in prime minister. And fourthly, under this, why the prime minister represents views of the party, we think that they're able to ratify and pull out of international agreements, for example, the Paris Climate Accord.

So secondly under this point of why we get a more legitimate democracy, so what we'd like to say is what does it mean to have a legitimate democracy? We think the Australian people, through a legitimate and transparent voting system, have the ability to vote for a party whose values best represent their needs. And we think in the status quo, Australia's two main parties, the Labour and Liberal Party, are deeply divided into three main sections. We think these are the far right, the conservative moderates, and the centre left.

And because of this internal party division, whoever is prime minister can shape the direction of each party and the values of this party significantly. For example, when Malcolm Turnbull was prime minister and Peter Dutton wanted to take over, there was many, many party members who threatened to go back, to resign to the backbench if Dutton became the prime minister because of the radical change in views the party would take.

We think that this means that when there is a leadership spill and the prime minister changes, it represents legitimate party policy structural and structural value and value changes, which affect all Australians. This means that people are no longer being represented by the government they chose and they voted in in the status quo. But if, under our side, the PM changes, the Australians would be able to exercise their democratic rights to consider the new direction of both parties with the different leadership of those parties.

We think that people who like the Turnbull government in one situation-- for example, like for the centre-left voters who voted for the Turnbull government, the Turnbull liberal government-- would not appreciate a Dutton or a Morrison government. And we think that this is a major reason as to why the people of Australia would not be represented by the same government they voted for, and they need this democratic vote after there's a change in prime minister.

I'd like to move on to my second point about the stability. And I'd like to talk about the status quo. In the status quo, we have an infamously unstable government. I said in my intro, there's been six prime ministers in the past 11 years. We think they're like-- we see, when there's so many prime minister changes and leadership spills, we see that no real policy changes that are actually effected.

We see a lack of faith in the government from the Australian people. We see people resigning from the changes in prime minister. We see seats vacant. And we see, therefore, the party losing the majority of the house.

And we see that, then, they can't pass bills because crossbenchers who would support one prime minister-- for example, Malcolm Turnbull-- would not support another prime minister, for example Peter Dutton. And then we see just a really inefficient and unstable government that we just don't support.

So why do we think stability is really important in the government? We think that, firstly, when you have more stability, you can make long-term policy changes because you're thinking about what your government is going to do in the future. You're not just thinking about, oh, well, there's a leadership change. Our views might completely change within this party.

Secondly, we think that it means that the Australian people, have more faith in their government because they see it as more legitimate because of the stable leadership within each party. Thirdly, we see more information because people know what the government wants to do and what their policies are. And we see that if we're constantly changing government, the front and frontbenchers with the leadership skills, nobody really has enough information for each different branch of the government to be able to accurately vote.

And we think that, fourthly, the instability there is incredibly inefficient. Because we're shutting down the government. We're changing leaders. We're losing money, firstly, where it means more politicians are talking about gaining power than about the policy and--

[bell dings]

--helping the Australian people. So we see that, why do we get a more stable government under our model? We see that we're less likely to have a leadership spill. Because we think, firstly, the elections are costly, and governments won't want to go to election, and, secondly, that there'll be a massive chance that the party will lose.

We say that because there's such a marginal seat majority, the party won't change their leaders until it's absolutely necessary. And then there'll be fewer changes. And there'll be fewer prime minister changes and fewer-- because people will think about the actual influences and the consequences of this.

We also think the politicians are more likely to try and get along with each other within their party. And there's less likely to be arguments between people in the parties who have different values. And they're more likely to cooperate because they don't want to go straight to election when there's a leadership spill. We think that's just a very logical step to take.

And now, on to my third and final point. Why we would get a better political process? We think that if there is a change in leadership under our policy, under our model, we would have more stability because the Australian people can actually vote. It makes it more legitimate. And it makes people protest less about the issues with the government when everything changes, and their view is the government that they voted for is not re-elected-- is not in government anymore when there's change in prime minister.

And we think that that leads to a more transparent system. We think that's the first point. And we think the second point is that when you have uncertainty in the leadership, the government shuts down. And politicians are more accountable for their policies, thirdly, under our system because--

FLORA LEE: So on to my first point about how the elements of democracy are actually preserved in the status quo. So in the status quo, we vote for our own representatives, and we vote based on their policies and the good changes that they will bring to us.

So we trust their decisions and their place and their judgement in the long term. And so therefore, under the same principle, we would trust them to realise when their party must undergo change, and they will actually make the best decision for the Australian people.

So therefore, our representatives indicate a degree of safety for the people. And therefore, a new election is not actually necessary to undermine-- to actually uphold the fundamentals of democracy. However, under the opposition's model, this rational voting process is actually severely compromised.

And so here, I'll explain why. So the nature of the voting after a leadership spill actually undermines democracy. So why is it the case? The opposition came out to say-- and said that internal party division actually occurs and that the PM actually changes the views and the goals of the entire party. And because there are such major structural differences, Australia must be able to exercise their correct democratic rights, and therefore, they must vote for these different parties.

However, what is to say that this voting is actually effective? Ladies and gentlemen, the problem with voting right after a new-- right after a change in prime minister is that it actually undermines, basically, what the Australian people are voting for.

So firstly, it will lead to hasty voting where, basically, there is a very short time frame of perhaps only three weeks. And in this situation, most voters actually won't consider policy. Instead, they will choose to vote along party lines. And so this is inherently bad for Australian society.

Because now there is less focus on policy, and we don't know what sort of change can happen. And it leads to more discontent when the government that is elected cannot actually bring the change that we want. So it's quite redundant. Because, again, people will just vote along party lines because it is such a hasty time frame.

Secondly, there is the atmosphere of mistrust. And so basically, this occurs because we know, obviously, for example, with the current leadership spill, it is usually an atmosphere that is quite chaotic. There is quite a lot of discontentment of the government by its people. So this is hugely publicised in the media. And basically, people criticise and scrutinise--

[bell dings]

--the government repeatedly. And so basically, this atmosphere of mistrust-- for example, where representatives resign and then we have all these different by-elections occurring-- conscious voting is quite unclear for people. So people are not quite rational, in a sense, in this sort of atmosphere.

And thus, this leads to 1 things. Firstly, it means that people don't actually make the right decisions, which basically undermines democracy. Because again, as I said before, they are more incentivized to vote on party lines rather than actual policies. And generally-- so it basically undermines the fundamentals of democracy and doesn't really actually work.

And secondly, because of this generally chaotic atmosphere, it basically makes the public unhappy, regardless of whatever outcome there is. So basically, their needs are not actually met by the government in power. And they will continue to be discontent with the government.

So thirdly of why the nature of voting basically undermines democracy. So my third point with this is that it basically increases the disengagement of politics when there are too many elections. Firstly, when quantitatively, there are just too many elections, it fosters the disengagement of voters and especially young people from politics, in general.

And these elections, as I've said before, are generally focused on the character of a certain prime minister or short-term campaigning rather than actual policy. And these sort of things are just exacerbated by the media.

And again, they just reduce the people's contentment of the government, in general. Because for example, we can see the Dutton and Abbott government backstabbing Malcolm Turnbull. We can see this in the media. And basically, it basically fosters-- basically, what the media exacerbates is that it encourages--

[bell dings twice]

--other parties to attack the opposition for the disunity of another party rather than the actual policies or rather than the actual reforms which the government is meant to stand for. And so these are the things that the voters tend to focus on. And so therefore, they will be disengaged by politics. And generally, the people's voice and democracy, in general, will actually be reduced and will be less effective under the opposition model.

So again, touching on their point of instability, we believe that there is actually more instability under the opposition's model. And this is because there is a complete change in ideology.

So it is actually better, we believe, under our side of the house, that it is better to change prime ministers and, therefore, resolve internal problems rather than actually just having-- rather than having an incentive for parties to actually just to not have a leadership spill because they believe that this will result in them losing an election. We believe that it's actually more imperative for them to resolve these problems internally.

[bell dings repeatedly]

We believe that this is necessary. Therefore, yeah, we will act-- we are proud to affirm.


ADA LUONG: Ladies and gentlemen, when the opposition came out and told us that the Australian people don't like having leadership spills and that the Australian people were discontent with the government, they were absolutely right. What they have presented is an extremely uncomparative case in which they assumed that by people having to re-elect governments that, for some reason, the government would want to have more leadership skills-- spills. And we believe that this is untrue.

Today, I have two main points of rebuttal, and one main point is substantive. But firstly, I'm just quickly addressing about the model. We would still have the three-year voting system. And three weeks, we thought that this was sufficient enough time, given that the leadership spill occurred over three days.

And we thought that the issue of funding wasn't as important. And even if it was, the government wouldn't want to have a re-election. But even if they had to fund another election, we thought that this was not a big deal in the scope of this debate in which we stood for democracy and better policy-makers which were much better than long term.

Now, on to my first issue. And the two issues of rebuttal is, firstly, why do you have-- under which side of the case would we have a more representative government? And secondly, under which side of the case would we have a better political process and, therefore, representative policies?

So under the first issues of having a more representative government, so the opposition told us that under the status quo, people voted for representatives based on their policies and the policies they supported. And we agree with this.

In fact, at first, we gave you several reasons why under a new prime minister, the people might-- the parties or the representatives that people supported would change. For example, we told you that the policies between Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull, particularly regarding same-sex marriage, or with Dutton and Turnbull with sustainable energy, we thought that these policies that were being supported were different under each-- under each prime minister.

For example, when the media went out and interviewed people on whether or not a centre-- a concert-- people would support a-- sorry-- a far-right government compared to a conservative, moderate government, they responded with perhaps they would reconsider their choices. And we thought that by putting-- by enabling people to vote for their representatives again, we were, in fact, getting a more representative government that actually stood for what the people wanted.

We told you at first that-- the opposition didn't respond to-- that under our side of the case, the prime minister was extremely important because they represented the values of the party. They attracted crossbenchers' support and, as a result, were able to pass policies. The opposition just asserted that people represented-- they voted just for their representatives, and these representatives were going to support them.

We thought that, under our side of the case, we would have a much more representative government-- a much more representative government, yes. So the opposition then told us that people would vote hastily, and they won't necessarily have a representative government. But we thought that this was untrue for three main reasons.

Firstly, if there was a leadership spill, there is massive media coverage. In under a week, we are quite informed about what each party member stood for. And we thought that this massive media coverage was enough to give people enough information to vote for their representatives.

Secondly, we thought that the government had an incentive to inform people of who they were voting for. Because the government did want their seats back. So they were likely to provide enough information. And thirdly, we were happy to extend that in the case that three weeks wasn't enough, we were happy to extend the time frame. However, we thought that three weeks was enough, given the three-day leadership change in which the Australian people didn't really have much information or any influence over.

The opposition also told us that these people weren't going to be rational in making their choices, particularly given the chaotic nature. However, firstly, we thought that we trusted people in a democracy to make decisions that they thought were-- and even if they weren't the most informed people, we thought that we gave this vote to the people because we have faith in democracy.

We thought that even if people didn't make the most rational choices, it was still important to have a system of voting because of the stability, as I was talking about, and the idea that we would have a more legitimate government, which leads me on to, what brings a better political process?

So the opposition really wanted to engage in the fact that people would have a huge mistrust in the government if there was a leadership spill. And we thought that this was currently under the status quo of the case. People were quite unhappy that the government they voted for wasn't the government that is currently in place.

We thought that, under our side of the case, we would actually have better engagement and more trust in the government. Why do we think it was true? Well, firstly, if people were directly voting for representatives, perhaps someone who voted for a liberal MP at first decided that this government wasn't for them and wanted to vote for a Labour MP, and that Labour MP won, we thought that, in that situation, the people were more likely to have more faith in the government because they were directly involved in voting for it.

We thought that, also, they were more likely to have faith in the MP they voted for after this election. Because they would, A, be more accountable for their actions since they are being voted in. And, secondly, it would be a more transparent process rather than an arbitrary, I want this as a prime minister, yeah, boy.

AUDIENCE: [chuckles]

ADA LUONG: So we thought that-- we also gave you a few reasons why-- we gave you several reasons, in fact, why we were less likely to have a leadership spill in the first place, which the opposition hasn't responded to. We told you that people were unlikely to want-- governments were unlikely to want a leadership spill-- they have conceded to this-- because, A, it is expensive.

[bell dings]

They could lose seats, particularly given the marginal seats. And as a result, politicians are more likely to think carefully and would only change leaders if this was entirely necessary. We told you that stability was incredibly important. And they have agreed to this.

We told you that stability meant that we would have more efficient governments and were able to have more co-operative governments who would have positive-- would engage in more positive discourse surrounding policies rather than who they want the prime minister to be. So under this-- so at the end of the day, we thought that under our side of the case, we would have a more representative government and a more stable government for better political process.

Now, on to a bit of substantive on why we would have better international reputation. We thought that, given that, under our side of the case, as we've proven to you, we would have a more stable process and the leaders would be legitimately elected, or at least that the Australian people would feel were more legitimately elected, foreign actors would see Australia as a more stable and reliable country.

And this is important because being able to predict what Australia would do and they have a certainty of how they would act economically is good. Because firstly, it would mean that people are more likely to invest. There would be more foreign investment. So more businesses overseas are likely to expand to Australia if they are aware of the government policies and know that this isn't going to change within three days.

And secondly, we thought that this would be more beneficial for the Australian dollar and for the economy as a whole. And we thought that this directly impacted all Australians.

So at the end of the day, the opposition has presented a really uncomparative case which relied on-- which assumed that we would have more leadership spills under our side of the case. But as we have told you, we wouldn't have as much leadership spills. And we would get a more representative government for a better political process. And for that reason, we are proud to affirm. Thank you.


REHAN GUNAWARDHANA: We, the negative today, have identified two key themes in this debate, the first being whether the status quo has necessary precautions to uphold democracy and stable government, and, secondly, will the opposition's model even improve policy, in general? In regards to this first theme of whether the status quo has necessary precautions to uphold democracy and stable government, at first, we heard several things on this theme.

For democracy, we heard, firstly, that there's still partial democracy under our side of the house. Democracy exists when we vote in members. And these members are sometimes ministers and end up in the cabinet. And we vote either on policy or on political bias.

And the result of this, either way, is we trust who we vote for. And in this sense, we trust these people to make votes on our behalf. And by extension, it's logical to say we, therefore, trust these ministers' judgement. And in this sense, we should trust their votes in a party room when it comes to a leadership spill.

We shouldn't simply disregard the thoughts and opinions of those people who we have voted for and showed our trust and faith in. And so we can see that whilst it's not ideal-- for instance, we didn't vote for Scott Morrison, in particular, in mind to be prime minister-- we have to say that, firstly, people did vote for the LNP. And they voted with fate-- faith, sorry.

Secondly, leadership skills were and always will be a possibility. And thirdly, this is a necessary evil for party progression. Therefore, we have to deal with the problem at hand, and we have to trust our MP's judgments who voted in Scott Morrison, in this case.

In this sense, our prime minister and government still, one, represents the LNP majority of voters within Australia, secondly, has a chance to win over public opinion, and thirdly, is still accountable in the sense that they still have to perform well. They still have to please the party, and they still have to please the public. And therefore, we believe that this is not as bad as the opposition would have you believe.

At first, we learnt about normal elections, how we have a conscientious and thorough voting system. And this is wholly democratic. We learned that under the opposition's model, voting is not conscientious. It tends to be along party lines and not policy, which perpetuates the problem at hand. There's a mistrust of government, and there's a mistrust of character. And therefore, this negates democracy in and of itself. It negates utility. And it negates [? harm ?] minimization on the opposition side.

The opposition, instead, says that media informs the public. Over three weeks, the media will thoroughly inform the public. And we ask them, what about political bias in media corporations?

We've seen media amalgamations, massive dynasties of media corporations, joining together with inherent political bias. And therefore, the media we consume is not thoroughly indicative of the political character and the policy that people are presenting in government.

Additionally, we believe that three weeks will lead to character bashing, as opposed to indicating what policy exists right now. And therefore, this is inherently negative under the opposition's side of the case.

The opposition also says that the public is rational. And whilst we can see that this is possible, we also know that public could be emotional or misled when it comes to voting. In a three-week-- they also suggest that a three-week campaign is possible.

Considering that campaigns take months to plan and months to take into action, this is simply not possible. And this is not a risk that we want to take. We prefer interim stability, which then leads to democracy, rather than falsely chasing democracy and failing in the process, as the opposition would lead-- would lead to in society.

And second, we will instead talk about the effects on government itself. What is the status quo? Well, the status quo enables a prime minister to go towards the governor-general and then trigger an election or else wait for a normal election, which I believe is in February 2019 at this rate. And therefore, checks and balances do indeed exist when it comes to this problem.

If the new prime minister and the party are bad-- 'bad'-- then they will face a general election either way. Over time, they'll be forced to face this election. And therefore, the benefits of the opposition still occur under our side of the case.

Additionally, there's public accountability that forces progression of the party. The government will be forced to improve. But the opposition doesn't let this happen because there's a new government by the time any government would have a chance to improve in and of itself.

And thirdly, there's a rise of social movements that means that funding organisations and media amalgamations can help demand the leadership change. And therefore, the opposition's benefits, in this sense, are under our side, too. But we also have stability. And we also have faith from the public. And this is inherently better.

Therefore, categorically, all benefits incurred by the opposition exist under the status quo as we're presenting to you today. But when government is pushed into the corner, organic change of the status quo forces them to improve, which leads to benefits of stability and faith, which the opposition does not have, and better policy, as I will talk about later.

We also asked the opposition about the three weeks, whether this is really practical. And we also talked to them about the costs incurred through the campaign, as opposed to a long campaign that they would normally have. The opposition, in regards to this third theme, has disregarded the status quo and its notion of organic change. They tried to fight fire with fire by trying to fight instability with more instability.

We concede to their model in one scenario-- in the off chance that the new prime minister is indeed terrible, in the unlikely chance that the public forces a new election, and in the improbable chance that a clear majority of voting is indicated for a better person who is now our new prime minister-- a better person being vague, at best-- and in the unlikely scenario that the second PM is perfect and achieves all goals that was indicated to, then, yes, the opposition's model is great.

But this is, firstly, extremely unlikely. Secondly, the benefits of the model are only realised after the elected prime minister's term. And therefore, this means that there are years of uncertainty under the assumption that all will go well and that nothing goes wrong.

So the opposition really is trying to falsely please the public and ignores internal peace of party. Without sorting this internal disruption out, they perpetuate the problem. And we ask them how many re-elections they're really prepared to have.

[bell dings]

In fact, we believe that the opposition trivialises government. We don't think governments want to have leadership spills, as the opposition has falsely said. Instead, under their model, with constant re-elections, then why wouldn't these occur more?

The opposition took a notion that already exists. They took the notion that political backstabbing already exists and that ministers want to be prime minister. And they've given it a vehicle to grow and to work because the leadership spills-- leadership spills typically mean that ministers are thrown into the deep end if they end up as prime minister and that, therefore, they hesitate before calling a party room meeting. And therefore, they assure that they have a majority in the party already.

Now they just have to get away with three weeks as an interim prime minister before being reelected. And now they have a bigger chance of becoming a prime minister. And therefore, there's more likelihood that these people will call the leadership spills under the opposition's side of the house, as opposed to what they falsely said. And therefore, we believe that the opposition has almost endorsed such spills. And therefore, we conclude that on this first theme, we are categorically better.

On the second theme of whether the opposition's model improves policy, we recharacterize leadership spills. Perhaps the spill is announced surprisingly. But it is never out of the blue. In other words, we see this leadership spill brewing over time, and we see it coming.

The opposition's model sees this storm coming but does nothing to prevent it. Additionally, they try to apply a Band-Aid solution to a problem that they're really just making worse. Let's instead consider this-- even if the buildup to this leadership spill was a messy storm and even if the result was not a popular reception, we perceive the current scenario simply as this-- yes, some people are unhappy with the result, but some people are always unhappy with the result of an election.

But overall, they're happy that it's over. And this debacle, as the opposition would have you believe it, is only going to improve. We've heard why. There are checks and balances, and there's accountability.

But we've also heard the detriments of the opponent's model. The situation at hand, is only on an uphill. Yes, the Liberal National Party is still split. But the majority holds, and the majority is happy within the party. And therefore, there's less policy and less political stagnation--

[bell dings twice]

--which is a benefit. But ours suggests the opposite, that prime ministers will change, and this does indeed lead to stagnation. And this is not true. Because if the new PM exists and the cabinet is focused on an election instead from their side, there's less focus on policy. And this is bad for the public. This is bad for the government. This is bad for society. And we reject this characterisation.

Leadership spills force stability, and they force policy that is socially minded. The opposition said re-elections force cooperation in parties. But this is a benefit on our side of the house, too. And the opposition has had nothing to add there.

For instance, Scott Morrison is already on his way to Indonesia to talk to Head of State Widodo about free trade agreements. And this terrible government, as the opposition would suggest, is already making tangible positive moves to socially minded policy.

Why? Because he has long-term objectives to please society at the February 2019 elections. Why? Because Scott Morrison isn't worried about a rushed election. But the long-term doesn't exist under the opposition's--

[bell dings repeatedly]

--model, where policy is rapidly changing and, therefore, we're proud to negate. Thank you.


ANNA-SOPHIA ZAHAR: Opposition was never going to win this debate because they had several massive problems in their case but one specific tension, which was that the status quo they supported, the status quo they wanted to say was stable, was perfect, had this interim stability that they lauded, which we also wanted under our side, this status quo was not only incredibly theoretically realistic but we were not living through it.

It did not exist. The events of last week have told us that this does not exist. And therefore, we urgently need a solution to sort out our political system I'll be telling you three things in the speech-- firstly, why we give you a more representative government, secondly, why we give you more stability, and, thirdly, why we give you a better political process.

In this first point, why we get a more representative government, it's important to ask why a representative government was really important. And there were three reasons for this. So firstly, it meant that the needs of the majority of Australians were being met and respected.

Secondly, it meant that your government had more legitimacy. And thirdly, it meant that there was more political engagement from the Australian public because they knew that their government was actually legitimately representing them.

So we did not see this right now because we had politicians who were not elected by the Australian public. They were elected in small rooms in Canberra by other politicians who were really sick of their jobs, that kind of just wanted to go home. This was not representative governing.

And as the opposition conceded at first speaker, when there is a change in prime minister, you get a massive change in ideology. Because they had their own ways, their own values, that they want the party to follow, their own direction. And they are able to introduce policies which they want.

We gave you pretty important examples of this. So firstly, the same-sex marriage referendum, which Turnbull introduced, and, secondly, Turnbull's different stance on climate change compared to that of Abbott. These are issues that literally affected millions of Australians and changed their lives. And we thought that was why it was very important that Australians should take seriously the changing of prime ministers and vote in an election again.

And it was very harmful that people were being represented by governments they did not vote for, for example, Turnbull and Scott Morrison. And so the negative agreed with us here because they conceded this massive ideology change. And so we thought these governments were never going to be completely representative.

What was their material here? We heard that-- they said that people elect ministers who then make the decisions, and their constituents should trust the judgement of the MPs. There are a few reasons why this is problematic.

Firstly, the vote of the ministers was very close and not definite at all. And when you had lots-- millions-- of Australians voting for very few people to represent them who then voted for one person, this meant that you weren't actually legitimately respecting the views of a lot of Australian people. You were kind of just caught up in this chain, pyramid system, where you got someone who, at the end of the day, was probably not what the majority of Australians wanted.

And I told you earlier on why politicians were not always likely to make the best choice. Because they were probably tired, sick of the leadership spill, a bit embarrassed, and had to vote along with what they were told to do by their parties.

So those were a few reasons why this was really problematic and not legitimate at all. So at the end of that issue, we saw that you would definitely get a more representative government under our side. Our current government is just not good enough.

On the second issue, so why we gave you more stability, stability was incredibly important. Because without stability, people had no idea what the government would do in the long term. Even the government had no idea what the government would do in the long term. So they were not able to make policies which affected the long term. Things like climate change policy got no attention, and more, broader education policies.

So we really wanted stability. This is incredibly important and the most important issue in the debate, we thought. So we gave stability because there would be fewer changes in prime ministers in the first place. And why was this? Because people would want fewer elections.

Two major reasons for this, firstly, because elections are very costly and time-consuming and [? inefficient. ?] Governments don't want to pay for them, they don't want to go through with that-- and secondly, because governments have an incentive to not have lots of elections. Because they know that at any point, they could not get re-elected. And this is very dangerous for them.

So that is why we would definitively see fewer leadership spills. We'd see fewer elections. And instead, what we'd see is politicians actually trying to work together to make legitimate policy, to make legitimate change, and to not just fight and ignore the actual needs of the Australian public.

Opposition's only material here was that there was some how already checks and balances, public accountability, and organic change was happening. A big problem with this is that it actually wasn't working. We never saw the results of any of these checks and balances because what we had at the moment was one of the most unstable political systems in the world and a massive embarrassment.

So they said that leadership spills could cause stability because it would force politicians to work together. But it actually didn't because leadership spills resulted from the fact that politicians weren't able to work together. And they had to fight. Because everyone wanted to be prime minister rather than them just saying, OK, we're all going to work together because elections are such a big hassle, and we'll probably lose if we go into election.

So that's why we thought we'd get fewer elections. And this was-- and stability was the most important issue in the debate. And it was the one we're definitively winning because if we had a stable government, no matter which government it was, no matter if it was representative or not, and that was the only way we were able to get legitimate change--

[bell dings]

--and for people to think that Australia's politics was legitimate, we'd get foreign investment. We'd get a better social welfare system. We'd get actual, legitimate, long-term political outcomes.

OK, so on to this third issue of why we gave you a better political process. This is where the most sophisticated material came out. So they gave you a lot of reasons why people would vote badly in these elections. So firstly, they said they'd vote hastily.

So there are a couple of reasons why this wasn't the case. Because you, obviously, already got massive media coverage in elections. We got that last week with the leadership spill. We get it every single election. Also, governments have an incentive to make people informed so they vote for them. And that incentive was always going to exist.

And thirdly, they'd asked us if three weeks was enough. If they really didn't like this, we're totally happy to extend it. It could be a few more weeks. What we wanted was an election, in general. This was the most important mechanism in this debate.

So secondly, they said that people wouldn't vote rationally. But we trusted people. That was what the democratic system was about. Because even if they didn't really like politics and weren't so into it, it doesn't matter because they vote for who they want to represent them.

And that's why we have a democracy. That's why we're not like ancient Greece, where a few old, white men who are the only ones who could go to school, vote for our leaders. Because everyone can vote. We give that right to people.

And so then they said that people would only vote along party lines. But we thought this was fine. You just vote for what you want. You vote for the party you'd like. And then they told us this point about media bias. But this didn't really matter because this also existed under their side.

If there was media bias, that was always going to exist. They also had elections. This didn't really affect our case that much. And also, people had a lot of different sources in the media they can look at and get their information from.

But at the end of the day, this whole point, which is the one they pulled ahead in most, a better political process, didn't matter because what was the most important was that we had a representative government at all.

[bell dings twice]

And we had a stable government. And it didn't even matter, really, how we got there if people didn't always vote in the best frame of mind. Because what we had was a government who, as we already proved, was representative and would stay in power long enough to actually represent the people.

And so what we proved to you was that we had this mechanism there. We would introduce this mechanism so we would get fewer leadership spills, so we would get fewer elections, but so we would also have a more representative government which respected the needs of the Australian people.

And additionally, in this issue, we proved that the prime minister would be more accountable. They'd have more legitimacy. And there's a lot more international respect. And because we have already proved to you that there would be a more representative government, we would get more stability. And we would get a better political process. We have shown you very convincingly that the only way we can improve--

[bell dings repeatedly]

--Australia's government system is with our model I'm so incredibly proud to affirm.


CHARLIE YANG: Ladies and gentlemen, we encourage you to look at the real world. Today, the opposition put forward a model that diagnosed the problem but was not able to prove practical benefits. Note that the reasons that they stated that their model would fix-- unstability, the freezing of the government, causing [inaudible]-- exists worse under their side of the house.

Because we think that an election is a more extreme version of a leadership spill. We think the election would be chaotic. It would cause further damage to the political landscape. And because the public would not be sufficiently informed, it would be completely undemocratic. We think the public would become further disillusioned with this election process and would not be likely to vote based on who they actually think would be better but who they think would be better based on the biassed media.

Knowing that the most important point that they failed to recognise here is that they asserted that their model would lead to a more representative government and that was the whole basis of the case. Sure, in theory, it might. But we thought that two things were likely to happen in this situation. Firstly, the original government would be re-elected, but they would be further weakened by all this chaos. And it would be made worse if their situation would be made worse.

The second case would be the opposition would be voting. They would be voting, and they would have a complete change in policy. Then furthermore, they would have no time to settle in to their new government. They would have no time to implement long-term legislation before they had to prepare for a new election six months down the track. We thought that this new government would be voted in based on emotion, not based on policies.

They talked about how the public would be informed because of the media. What did we get with the media last week? When I turned on the news, I saw civil war. I saw backstabbing. I saw that the Liberal Party was in complete chaos.

The media is there to get views. The media is completely biassed. And we thought that because it's in such a short time frame, in three weeks, the public will not be able to be sufficiently informed to make a semi-objective view and, therefore, would actually vote for the party that would actually be beneficial to them in the long-run.

Simply, they would be affected by the media, as the opposition conceded. But that would be exceedingly negative. So therefore, on both cases, we saw that there would be a less representative government that could not actually work. We encourage you to look at the real world. It will not, in reality, work.

So I'm going to prove two things today, one, why our side feels our obligation to be democratic and fulfils the current election process, and, two, even if they have the moral high ground, why we will show you how they have failed to prove better outcomes regarding the election and regarding the long-term governance of Australian people.

So on the first principle, the opposition talked about how the prime minister represents the views of the party because they get all the media attention. While we agree that the prime minister does have influence, we think that a change in a leader is not as drastic as a change in the party.

We think that that would be a completely opposite direction of policies. It would be completely drastic and would be much more [? true ?] on their side of the house. We thought that even if there was a change in a leader, most policies would still be continued because they're voting in relatively the same direction. We saw that today where Scott Morrison went to Indonesia to continue the free trade deal that Malcolm Turnbull set up first.

We thought that most policy would still be continued. Therefore, long-term legislation would be able to happen. And we thought that long-term legislation was exceedingly important and wouldn't be able to happen on their side of the house. We have an election every year, and people only want to get the views of the public.

So furthermore, the unstability that they characterise on our side of the house regarding divisions because of this leadership spill, we'd like to clear up that these divisions would still exist. Even if they don't want to get a leadership spill, there would still be tension within the party.

We don't think politicians would automatically become friends if they're conservative, if they're [? moral. ?] These tensions would still completely exist. However, the government would have no way to rectify this through a leadership change. Therefore, they exist on both sides of the house.

And their model completely fails to address whatever divisions within the government that actually make the effectiveness worse. We don't think politicians will actually change, even if there is no leadership spill.

Furthermore, they gave you a completely wrong characterization of a leadership spill. They told you that it will shut down the government. It will change leaders. We will lose money. Again, we'd like to say that an election would just be a more extreme version of this.

And furthermore, we'd like to clear up, as Rehan told you, it would be just as likely for leadership spills to happen. But even if it was less likely for a leadership spill to happen, these tensions will still exist. There will be-- and furthermore, there would be no way to actually rectify these divisions within the government by having a leadership change.

We'd like to say that the government is not perfect, contrary to what they told you. But because they are still one party, they were able to form something in the same direction. We saw this in Malcolm Turnbull's term. Even though there was division, Australia was able to experience a long period of economic growth because that party was focused in that direction of economic growth.

Under their side of the house, it would be not possible. Because there would be elections every second day, and the governments would only prepare for short-term examples. However, we told you that the status quo, no matter what the purpose, actually addresses our moral obligation to be democratic.

The first thing to say is that people elect their own representative, or their own local representative, not the prime minister. So we thought that this change in leader would be minimised on the fact of democracy.

But secondly, we also thought that, even though this conflict is bad and these divisions in the party is bad, they will be further worse on the other side of the house because there will be a complete change in policy, and these tensions will still be just as likely to exist.

OK, onto the second question on practical outcomes. The opposition said that the government would be more likely to lose on their side of the house. We think that this is completely correct because of the fact that in those three weeks, there would be a dramaticized coverage of the party. And there would be a very biassed view, a very subjective view, of the party that's not based on what the actual policies and what the actual ideologies are but on the short-term chaos that the party experienced.

We thought the purpose of democracy was that people should be able to vote based on the ideologies they believed in, on the policies they believed in, not in if they thought that the party was in a chaotic three-week span. We don't think that was actually positive.

So furthermore, they told you that it would be less likely for a leadership spill to happen. I've already talked about this before, but I'd also like to say that even if a leadership spill is less likely to happen, why is this the case? This is because party division is not as extreme as two parties facing off against each other.

The internal division is not as bad as the difference between two parties. And therefore, under the side, under our side of the house, because it's not as extreme, we'd be more likely to have a more unified government because of the fact that these changes are not as extreme. And therefore, these policies, long-term policies, will still be able to continue. And the reason that they said that their model--

[bell dings]

--would benefit democracy was because they assumed that the election would be done correctly. We've already told you that because of this three-week span, the public will not have an informed view. And therefore, because their model allows for no time for the parties to actually show their policies, to show their ideologies and their long-term plans, the public will not be able to vote democratically. So their whole basis on we need a democratic country doesn't exist. We don't think that that is correct.

Thirdly, they told you that politicians will not vote correctly or will not act correctly because they're pretty tired of all these leaderships. We like to say that there would be more tired for three-week elections every single week.

So we had two main points of argument. One, what's better regarding policy, legislation, and stability, and, two, what would this election actually look like? So the first thing, we thought the most important point here, was to recognise what a term of government looks like. It's campaigning, long-term legislation, campaigning.

On their side of the house, it would be campaigning, campaigning, campaigning. With just short-term policies, there would be no time for long-term legislation or policies to actually exist. Under our side of the house, even though there's a change in leadership, we've already told you these policies will remain relatively the same. So Australia will see some long-term benefits.

On their side of the house, these parties will just prepare for elections every single day. And therefore, we would see no long-term benefits but just short-term political capital that these parties try to get. So we thought that that was a crucial point to address and just goes to say that, even though, even if they have the moral high ground, even if it's more democratic, it actually will not work. We will not get positive change for Australian people.

But also, we think that thrusting into an election gives the government no time to actually show that they can unify, and they can move forward. It just gives a completely biassed view of the government. We thought that this tension already exists over a long time frame. No matter what they characterise, we thought the tension and the party divisions weren't [? solid ?] and won't sully the leadership change.

We thought that that existed for about a year. The Malcolm Turnbull government has already had these tensions for around a year. So therefore, their model doesn't address that long one-year span of tension before the leadership spill. We thought that that didn't actually help the case at all. We thought that the only thing that this election would actually do was interrupt legislation in undue process--

[bell dings twice]

--create an election based on emotional bias rather than an objective view, as well as actually making government more chaotic, not allow for actual opposition to exist, and make the government based on short-term policies. And furthermore, we thought that if this government was not re-elected, they would be in complete chaos. They would break apart because of the stress of the election and because that they failed to re-elect some government.

And we thought that, because of this, because of the chaos and the chaos that was multiplied tenfold on their side of the house, they will not be able to provide a sufficient opposition to the government. And we thought that that opposition was essential in terms of our parliamentary system.

And furthermore, we thought that on their side of the house, because this party was broken apart, they will not be able to represent those people who do still support them, those people who still represent them. So we thought that because they weren't able to represent those views of the people because their party was broken apart, it would be much less beneficial in terms of representative government and democracy. So we thought that their focus--

[bell dings repeatedly]

--on the fact of a representative government wasn't actually, in reality, possible. And even though our government isn't perfect, they have not been able to prove that their model actually gives you positive benefits. Therefore, we're incredibly proud to [inaudible]. Thank you.


TONY HEMMINGS: Thank you very much. And thank you to Western Sydney for not only educating me but also giving me-- giving us all this lovely space here. The Year 11 Metro has been a really great competition to be a part of this year. And I speak for-- I hopefully speak for-- all the adjudicators in saying we've really appreciated this.

I'd also like to quickly just say the reason I'm dressed so casually is it's Wear Purple Day, which is a really important day for LGBT youth and LGBTQIA+ members of our community. So that's why. I'm not trying to be informal for any other reason.

So now, on to today's debate. We've really enjoyed today's debate and listening to two such highly accomplished teams give their speeches for us. So what we really felt like this debate came down to was the notion of legitimate democracy. So which side of the house presented us a variation on democracy which was more legitimate?

And I think it's important to note that this debate was couched in the current context really quite early on. And I think that's really important-- we think that this is really important-- for how the debate played out. So let's begin with considering some of the things that the affirmative did.

So what we heard from the affirmative side of the house was three consistent points repeated throughout the course of the debate regarding legitimacy, stability, and a better parliamentary process. And this came out of at first and was repeated and consistently affirmed throughout the course of the debate.

We heard from both sides a series of little concessions, though, regarding time frame, in particular, and structural things on the affirmative side of the house. But we felt like, ultimately, this was less important throughout the tenor of the debate.

From the negative side of the house, some of these concessions we would hear more often. So regarding there would be less of a focus on legitimacy and more attacks regarding these kind of structural issues. We also felt like the negative, by the end of the debate, we wondered if the negative had kind of focused more on the notion that maybe the elections would be rolling, almost, so that we'd have one election after this, and then we'd have another general election in the year after, like in 2019, as currently predicted.

We also felt like this rolling elections point that emerged was less important than other issues that may have been needed to be discussed-- in particular, the potential for the legitimization of populism that the affirmative model pressed. And we felt like this was kind of like an iceberg. We got it touched on a little bit. We saw the top. But ultimately, we never really probed into the material that lay beneath, which we felt was greater and more important.

There were also other such points that we felt like what kind of dealt with by the negative side that we had a few questions about, particularly regarding media bias. And ultimately, we feel like this demonstrated a more scattergun approach, which is what we believe, as the adjudicating panel, occurred on the negative side of the house. Ultimately, through reviewing the material, the adjudication panel has unanimously decided to award this debate to Sydney Girls High School.


As such, the adjudicators are available for feedback afterwards. I'm sure that we'll be receiving the teams for feedback, as all speakers today did an exceptional job to make it not only to this level of the competition but have proven themselves over the course of their high school career as exceptional speakers. And we look forward to seeing them go forward into not only year 12 but into public life, hopefully, where they too may be stabbed in the back by some form of--


--party member. Thank you very much.

[cheers and applause]

End of transcript