Video transcript
NSW Premier's Debating Challenge 2022 - Years 9 and 10 state final

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[intro music]

JUSTINE CLARKE: Good morning and welcome to this wonderful venue here at the Telstra Customer Insight Centre. My name is Justine Clarke and I'm the speaking competitions officer for the Department of Education. I'd like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet today, the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. I pay respect to Elders, past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today.

Welcome to the 2022 state final of the Premier's Debating Challenge for Years 9 and 10 for the Teasdale trophy. And congratulations to both James Ruse Agricultural High School and Sydney Girls High School for making it to today's final. I'll now hand over proceedings to our chairperson, Mia Connel.

Mia is from Glenmore Park High School. She's joined by Yakshita Singhi, who will be our timekeeper today. Both are members of the Glenmore Park High School Debating Team who made it to the quarterfinals of this competition. So without any further ado, thank you, Mia. I'll hand over to you.

MIA CONNEL: Thank you, Justine. Welcome to the 2022 state final of the Premier's Debating Challenge for Years 9 and 10 for the Teasdale trophy. This competition began in 1950 with the donation of a trophy by Charles and Fred Teasdale for an annual debating competition at intermediate level between high schools on the north shore.

Over the years, it has expanded into a state-wide competition. This year, 286 teams from 202 schools entered the Premier's Debating Challenge and approximately 1,200 students were involved across the state. The majority of debates took place online, but many teams took the opportunity to get back to some face-to-face debating as well.

Today's final is the first in-person state final for this competition since 2019. In 2021, the competition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 lockdown. And in 2020, the Premier's Debating Challenge was run completely online and the winners of the online state final and therefore defending champions of the Teasdale Cup are James Ruse Agricultural High School.

On your programme, you will see listed the names of the schools that won their zones, as well as those that went on to compete in the knockout finals. Congratulations to all of those schools for their success in this prestigious competition. Today's debate is between James Ruse Agricultural High School and Sydney Girls High School.

The affirmative team is from James Ruse Agricultural High School. The first speaker is Kitty Wei. Their second speaker is Ian Yi. The third speaker is Nara Gong and their fourth speaker is Aileen Cao. And their coach is Robert Abrenika.

The negative team is from Sydney Girls High School. And their first speaker is Sofia Malik. Their second speaker is Sofia Tzarimas. Their third speaker is Melissa Liu. And the fourth speaker is Miri Stubbs-Goulston. And their coach is Denise Vicenzio.

The adjudicators for this final are Tony Davey, the Speaking Competition's Assistant for the New South Wales Department of Education, Gemma Hedayati, the winner of this competition in 2017, and Elinor Stephenson, who won the Premier's Debating Challenge for Years 11 and Year 12 in the same year.

Each speaker may speak for 8 minutes. There will be a warning bell at 6 minutes with two bells at 8 minutes to indicate the speaker's time has expired. A bell will be rung continuously if a speaker exceeds the maximum time by more than one minute. The topic for this debate is, 'That Australia should ban cosmetic surgery.' Now, please welcome the affirmative first speaker, Kitty Wei, to open the debate.


KITTY WEI: The negative team in today's debate has to defend a world where the cosmetic surgery industry still exists and will continue to prey on people's insecurities, which pushes them to conform to beauty standards. And they have a huge burden in today's debate. So now into our model. We think that we present a model where Australia will ban cosmetic surgery and this excludes medical surgeries. For example, if you cannot breathe without a nose job, you can obviously still get one.

So now for some allocation, our first speaker will be talking to you about how firstly we change social culture surrounding beauty, tackling how cosmetic surgery is bad for individuals. And our second speaker will be talking about harms on low SES people. Now into my first point of how we change social culture surrounding beauty.

The problem of the status quo is that cosmetic surgery industries prey on consumers, typically, young girls to get money and to get profit. And this looks like putting out ads in shopping centres or putting out ideas about the importance of beauty. And as a result, people are pressured to get cosmetic surgery, and they're reminded of it constantly. And therefore, they fixate on their insecurities which stem from what they see on a daily basis. Therefore, there are deeply-rooted norms about beauty entrenched in our society, which heavily impacts mainstream citizens.

So why is cosmetic surgery the main driving force responsible for this problem? There are two main reasons. Firstly, they're the most in-your-face industry. For example, they have ads near you offering like a $50 liposuction which will change your life, or for example, they tell you that you'll feel like a brand new woman on a bus or at your local shopping centre.

So therefore, they have the most reach, they're the most accessible, and they have the most ability to make a difference to a person's appearance. Note, that this is what makes them especially harmful because it's different to seeing beauty in the media as opposed to seeing it in real life. Because in the media, you know it's false, and you know it's basically unreachable. However, when it's in real life, it feels more important, and you have a higher pressure to attain it.

Secondly, they're the ones who need to put out this ad. They're the ones who obviously need to get consumers because that business is built on preying on insecurities so that you opt for plastic surgery. That business is built on for example, making you hate your nose bridge so much that you book a nose job. Without insecurities, they're basically out of a job.

So therefore, we think that we have proved that cosmetic surgery, that industry, specifically preys on people on their insecurities. And therefore, they're the main driving force which leads-- and we proved that there is a culture of beauty that is entrenched by these specific cosmetic surgery industries. So there are 4 main harms to this.

Firstly, individuals are more likely to succumb to this culture because they constantly see around them. For example, advertisements telling them to fix themselves or to make themselves look better. We think that this industry also ties your worth specifically to your outer beauty. Therefore, they're going to-- therefore, individuals are pressured to get plastic surgery. And also the harms on this will also be touched on my next point.

Secondly, it pushes more body image and insecurity issues. This is the reason as to why young girls are pressured to always look good and why they're always insecure about a part of themselves. This is a major harm which the cosmetics industry is primarily and specifically behind.

We note this is extremely harmful because these beauty standards perpetuated are typically catered towards European standards. And therefore, there's a huge harm towards ethnic groups who do not fit into these European beauty standards. And therefore, you're targeting them for something they literally cannot change.

Thirdly, the culture and the trend behind cosmetic surgery is extremely harmful. For example, after one surgery, it persuades and pushes individuals to go beyond and go on a constant cycle of getting more and more. Why? Because this obviously preys on more insecurities and makes you feel worse for themselves because this industry basically manufactures insecurities and makes you always find something wrong with yourself. And this culture gets even deeply pushed into society.

Fourthly, we think you are conforming to a culture that constantly changes. Beauty standards constantly change. We can see this through media trends. We can see this through how we perceive beauty. We think that in the negative team, this is particularly harmful because of the huge individual harms that come with cosmetic surgery that I would talk about in my second point. So therefore, insecurities will always be manufactured because there are always trends to base them off of.

So how do we solve this in our world? There are 4 ways. Firstly, these cosmetic surgery industries literally go out of business because they are banned. Therefore, there are no ads that yell at you to get cosmetic surgery and to fix your insecurities. And therefore, this generally becomes less prominent in people's minds. That even if we still have skincare and cosmetic industries targeting ads, this is not as harmful because the changes that they promote are less extreme. For example, like promoting a cream which gets rid of your acne.

Secondly, this ban starts up discourse and discussion. Discourse which will shred apart the cosmetic surgery industry and beauty culture, and there is more discussion on how arbitrary beauty standards are. For example, like a sharp jaw line and eventually changed people's views on its importance or lack of importance. And thirdly, we think that there's going to be a huge push for social messaging. We think that the government banning something is extremely significant. It sends a message that beauty is not tied to your self-worth. Let's take beauty standards and basically throw them out.

Fourthly, there are less people doing it because it's not normalised in our world. There are less people conforming and who feel the need to actually succumb and get it. And this is because cosmetic surgery is also mainly based on the pressure that they put on people. And therefore, with less pressure, there is obviously going to be less people getting it. So you don't see people in your workplace getting it and feeling inferior. And therefore, you are less likely to get it yourself.

At the end of this point, we think that we dismantled beauty expectations. And this is comparatively better than what the negative ever has to offer. And the negative also has a huge burden to prove why all these harms I gave you just do not exist or get better in our world. And there are-- And onto my second point of the harms to individuals who get cosmetic surgery. There are 2 main harms.

Firstly is that you often regret it later on. This is a huge harm because the ones you are most likely to regret are the most irreversible and expensive. For example, shaving off parts of your nose at 20 years old, then regretting it. So you're basically stuck in a body you hate even more, which we think is worse for body image and worse for confidence. Also we think that, as I've told you before, a lot of these surgeries are parts of trends. For example, fox eyes or different body shapes going in and out of style. This is obviously-- these people are going to regret what they do to their bodies.

Secondly, which is side effects or health danger. These surgeries are very invasive. So therefore, they all have a high-risk chance. So for example, in a BBL, they cut you open to take fat from your stomach and put it in your butt. For example, you get things implanted into you, like breast implants, when there's even the slightest mistake or bacteria, these side effects can become completely debilitating. For example, your skin literally rotting off or going blind from botched double eyelid surgery. That these things are extremely irreversible, and therefore, it is very important.

So why do these harms matter? There are 3 reasons. Firstly, people do not know the harms fully because the industry downplays these harms. And also society, in general, is not open about cosmetic surgery fails because of the shame or fear of judgement. We think that obviously this is bad.

Secondly, what we established in our first point about this toxic culture, creating insecurities, and coercing you into surgeries. We don't think that people actually fully consent because you grow up seeing people around you, seeing targeted ads in your daily life, seeing coercion towards you. People who look like you showing up one day, looking different. You are basically pushed into it by your environment and by the people around you.

So even if they are aware of the harms, this cannot be weighed up against a misrepresented benefit. Thirdly, the harms are long-term and irreversible. For example, you get side effects for life, or for example, not being able to having money to reverse a procedure that you regret.

So at the end of this point, we think that firstly, we have a principle obligation to protect these people from these harms by banning cosmetic surgery. And secondly, we have a huge direct benefit by stopping large groups of people from being harmed and the harms are very, very significant, as I've told you before, which means that in our worst case, our first point doesn't work in this debate. But we think that even in this case, we do not expose people to this huge set of irrefutable harms, which comes cosmetic surgery. And therefore, I'm proud to affirm. Thank you.


SOFIA MALIK: Side affirmative has given us some pretty compelling rhetoric about how pervasive beauty standards are. We tell you in this debate that banning cosmetic surgery in Australia by no means solves this problem. And that the problem itself by no means warrants an infringement on people's bodily autonomy. A couple of things to do today in this speech. First on the principle of freedom of choice and second on a couple of the practical outcomes about how banning cosmetic surgery just makes the problem so much worse.

On the principle of freedom of choice, why do we value freedom of choice in general? It's because generally policies don't cater towards diverse populations. And therefore, there's an intimate relationship between this principle and this debate. That's to say that like onto the opposition's model, we limit people like trans people and burns victims from accessing legitimate care that they need, which we advocated for those groups on side negative. Those were the people that we wanted to protect.

In the context of this debate, the main principle clash that we anticipate is between the notion of coercion that the opposition gives us and people's capacity to consent under our side of the house, which we're going to prove through the principle of freedom of choice. So the opposition's given you a lot of rhetoric as to why people are subject to coercive force. Here are 3 reasons as to why we think people's capacity to consent is actually quite strong under our side of the house.

The first thing to say here is that people are actually relatively informed when it comes to cosmetic surgery. That's to say that there's lots of information online. People are likely to care about something that directly affects their body and are likely to put a lot of thought into it. Thirdly, cosmetic surgery costs a lot of money and people aren't firstly immediately able to pay for it. And secondly, don't like throwing their money away.

The fourth thing to say here is that people are generally risk averse. That's to say that there is a culture surrounding plastic surgery gone wrong or botched plastic surgery videos that people are incredibly scared of. We think that was enough for us to say that people will likely to do their research before they made that sort of decision.

Second thing to say here is that people have a lot of time to think about the decision that they make in terms of cosmetic surgery. This process sometimes takes months or years in terms of one, saving the amount of money that you need to get the surgery. And two, the amount of preparation that you generally have to do for such a big procedure.

The third thing to say here is that a lot of these procedures were likely to be reversible. Yeah. And so at the end of this principle push, we tell you that even if you don't believe any of those mechanisms as to why people have access to consent, we give you the fact that doctors do have the ability to consent. So why do doctors have the ability to consent and why is it necessary for them in their practise?

The first thing to say here is that they have a legal obligation to their patients to make sure that they're well and to guarantee their recovery. The second thing to say is that they have a legal liability in terms of being able to make sure that the patients can seek retribution as opposed to going offshore and not being entitled to this, which is something that I'll go on to refer to in my practical push. The third thing to say is that doctors are subject to the literal threat of a malpractice lawsuit.

Those repercussions, especially financially, outweigh any sort of financial incentive that surgeons might have to do something that's unsafe that the opposition is trying to prove to you. We also think that the financial burden is insanely is a lot worse. For example, being sued or being part of a lawsuit, potentially having your practise shut down. That financial disincentive was a lot worse than your incentive to make money off of possibly doing something unsafe.

So even at the end of all this, you still believe that cosmetic surgery is coercive. We don't believe that any sort of cultural impetus that exists in society is not coercive. So as a result, the opposition needs to prove that coercion is so great as to warrant a ban. So for example, we point you to things such as braces, things such as dieting culture, which are purely cosmetic.

Most kids don't want braces and we'd like to see that as a very coercive thing that they're forced to do. But we don't ban it because there's not significant harm. So we significantly increase the burden of the opposition here to prove harm via coercion. We don't think they've done that sufficiently.

Now onto my practical argument on the fact that cosmetic surgery is-- that we get a lot more harm by banning cosmetic surgery. The first thing to say here is that cosmetic surgery is a symptom of beauty culture and not the problem itself. Beauty culture exists as an intersection between the standards of patriarchy i.e. like women only having value placed on them if they are beautiful, and that being their only associated value. And capitalism namely, the ability of companies to make money off of people's subservience to beauty standards. The main stakeholders of which the opposition identified as insecure young women.

These companies tend to take advantage of people's need to appear beautiful. As a result, people will kind of do whatever it takes to meet the beauty standards because their entire worth is pegged on their ability to be beautiful. If we just ban surgery in Australia, people will turn to more harmful methods that are likely to be a lot less safe and a lot less legal in terms of them being able to access retribution.

So in response to what the opposition's told you, they told you that people who are most victimised by the impetus to modify their bodies, namely young women, were preyed on for their insecurities, specifically young women. We tell you that you don't solve the root of the problem by banning cosmetic surgery, much less by banning cosmetic surgery just in Australia. You still have the racist beauty standards that they told you under their side of the house.

Their harms were largely symmetrical because of what I'm going to prove next. And that is to say that people will turn to other methods if they can't get legal and safe cosmetic surgery in Australia that are likely to be a lot more harmful. The first thing to say here is that if someone cares so much about altering their physical appearance to save the amount of money to do so, they're likely to go overseas for their surgery in a case that it's likely to be a lot more unsafe than doing it in Australia. So why is that bad?

In Australia, we have legal repercussions being subservient to medical integrity. You don't get those legal protections overseas. So for example, we have the right to information, the right to protection, the right to legal liability in Australia, whereas in a country like Brazil, all the liability is put onto the patients.

That's to say that if you were to get a Brazilian butt lift in Brazil, you'd have an incredible-- one, you'd have an incredible harm rate with something like a death rate of around 1%, which is incredibly dangerous. But also that you wouldn't have access to retribution if that surgery went wrong. You are much less likely to receive safe surgery. We thought that was a dramatic harm on the opposition side of the house.

The second thing to say was that there's a big culture around doing DIY plastic surgery that increases under the opposition's model. That's to say that if you don't have the money to go overseas, and you can't access safe surgery in Australia, you're likely to turn to unregulated products that you can import from overseas such as DIY lip filler, which are dangerous to administrate and are just so much worse than being able to go to your doctor and consult with them about what you should do.

We also tell you that dieting and bodybuilding and the culture of natural beauty that you get, if you take away cosmetic surgery, is a lot less safe and is a lot more coercive. So we know that bodybuilding is unsafe, we know that it's not natural to gain that much muscle mass in that small amount of time, we know that it's not natural to use steroids or to interrupt your digestive functions. But we have the ability to trust people because these things are largely regulated.

When we don't have systems of regulated cosmetic surgery, people just turn to worse methods wherein they can cause themselves a lot of harm and where they can't access retribution. We tell you on top of this that natural methods are often a lot worse in terms of the amount of guilt that you have if you don't meet the natural beauty standard. That's to say that you feel a lot worse, if you're told that your beauty standards is pegged on you not doing enough exercise or drinking enough water or thinking enough positive thoughts. That's to say that you feel a lot worse if you don't do that, as opposed to your beauty, being contingent on you getting plastic surgery, right?

We tell you also that people will feel a lot more guilty under the opposition side of the house. That's to say that beauty culture still exists if you can't get a BBL. You still feel that guilt, that's still incredibly mentally draining for you, if you can't do that, if you don't meet the societal beauty standard that your entire value is pegged on.

To way up at the end of the speech, we've proven that there is a significant harm on side affirmative that harms-- and also that the harms that they told you about botched plastic surgery were entirely symmetrical when people could just go overseas and get even more harmful methods of getting plastic surgery. Cosmetic surgery was a symptom rather than the problem itself. And by banning it, especially just in Australia, we make body modification even more harmful. I am very proud to negate.


IAN YI: Panel, we think it's not enough for opposition to come up and tell you that we aren't going to change the system when their side of the house is comparatively worse. We give you several structural mechanisms why we delete ads, why we reduce these unlikely beauty standards. And we find that opposition's side of the house needs to actually defend why their world is comparatively better, right?

So I'll be going through one piece of standard which is economic disparity and the second-- and I'll be going through a theme of the first freedom of choice. So on this economic disparity, we tell you that cosmetic surgeries are in inaccessible to low SES people, right? And we'd like to set up that the first thing-- and we'd like to set up that the cosmetic surgeries are incredibly expensive. And we think this looks like $10k for a nose job.

Note here, we think this is the base price. And when you have a qualified surgeon of like 50 years of experiences, we think prices were always going to be far, far higher, right? And that is to say, we think lower SES people will never be able to access these cosmetic surgeries. And even if they do, we think they buy into less qualified surgeons who do it for far cheaper, but have worse qualifications and worse experiences.

We think this is the most nuanced characterization in this debate, and we have 4 arguments-- 3 reasons. Firstly, we think there's a high demand for it. And we gave you structural reasons down the bench on why people more are likely to buy into plastic surgery. We told you that they see other people doing it. We think they have insecurities. And we think there's just more competition over-- like you get a competitive advantage in the workforce, right?

Secondly, we think that's an information asymmetry, right? We think people, especially low SES people, don't know the value of qualifications in actually getting your face done or whatever. Thirdly, we think these surgeons know they can exploit the demand and we think that's an incentive of money, right? Therefore, we think these people are incredibly desperate, and we think they're likely to buy into these like poor quality, but cheaper cosmetic surgeries.

What are the tangible harms? We think that low SES people are never going to be able to access plastic surgery, whereas the rich continue to get it. And even if that low SES people can access it, we think they get botched surgeries. Why is this incredibly harmful? Firstly, we think that a cosmetic surgery makes you look far more presentable, and we think that gives a competitive advantage in the workforce.

Secondly, it makes it easier to find a romantic partner. And thirdly, as opposition nicely characterises for us, there's a poorer body image, which leads to poorer mental health for lower SES people. We think that's just contingent on opposition's characterisation. But secondly, we have a non-contingent harm, which is that safety, right? We literally tell you that you are getting under the knife, you are going under anaesthetic, in which and any wrong malpractice or any uncalibrated equipment could lead to bacteria and we think that's incredibly harmful.

Our position gives us a-- Yeah. OK. So we think on the outside of the house, we stand for equity. And we think that actually allows lower SES people to have a better opportunity at life. And we think this is just as important because these people are vulnerable stakeholders. We think they need this advantage to actually break free from the poverty cycle. And therefore, we think this argument was important.

On to the second-- on to the first theme of freedom of choice. This is the metric opposition likes to talk about the most in this debate. And if we win, we think the only harm they talked about in this debate just falls out. So they talked about freedom of choice. We have a few responses. Firstly, we think there's people-- and we gave you this down the bench, right?

Firstly, we think people's freedoms of choice were never there, right? They don't actively consent when they're coerced by these advertising industries and ads that show a person getting a nose job and suddenly having this perfect life. They suddenly have tonnes of money piling in. We think influencers present themselves in having perfect lives after they get these surgeries. And we think this is a pervasive system that exploits individual's insecurities.

Yeah. And the third reason is that we think that people-- we think you can see other people with a perfectly structured face. That's just far more likely to-- that makes it far more likely for you to have an incentive to actually get a surgery, right? And we think oppositions response simply does not cut it. We tell you-- we tell you that if-- we tell you that people's freedoms of choices were undermined from the get-go, right?

When you see these ads, it doesn't matter whether or not you're socially aware. We think your being socially aware was influenced by the ability to have-- by you watching ads, by you watching and consuming and buying into your own insecurities. And therefore, we think our positions response is just incredibly unintuitive.

Secondly, we think this infringes on other people's free choice. When you see people with other-- when you see other people with this perfect face, we think your form far more likely to feel insecure about yourself. And we think that's a major incentive for you to get plastic surgery, which means when you make that choice to get plastic surgery, we think it means you're undermining other people's freedoms of choice, which is another reason why this freedom of choice is just not valid.

But thirdly, even if you don't buy into that, we think we are far better in terms of the long-term. We gave you mechanisms down the bench because we told you that the root culture changes. We think the system that makes people insecure about their noses. We think you're far more likely to see people on the streets that have perfect-- you're far less likely to see people on the streets that have perfectly structured faces, right?

And therefore, we think our normal faces and bodies become like this social expectations, which means bullying does not occur. Bullying is far less likely to occur. The first thing to note here is that we are dealing with opposition's better material. But secondly, at the end of this debate, if both team stood for like an individual's ability to love themselves.

We think it is-- And if it is incidental on how we get there, we think we find that our model is better on the comparative because we actually induce long-term change. And that's an argument we win on the comparative. And we think this deals with bullying on the systematic level, not on the individual level. But thirdly, even if they win this clash, we think this benefit would be very marginal at best.

So I have a few unintegrated pieces of rebuttal. So they tell you that people-- they give you these mechanisms of people are relatively informed. OK. They're likely to-- they gave us these unintuitive mechanisms about their ability to consent. We tell you that this response is simply not true because this pervasive beauty standards have influenced you since you were a child. We think they have never been aware of that decision. And we think they were always influenced by these exploitative ads.

They also tell you that there's a legal obligation and malpractice. Firstly, we think we never said that first. But secondly, low SES people were never going to sue a doctor. They were never going to be able to sue a doctor. And therefore, we think this just doesn't stand especially for those stakeholders we care about most. And then note here, opposition gives us this burden for sufficient harm after not being able to consent.

But we give you sufficient harms down the bench. We tell you that this could have infringement of safety. It could lead to irreversible harms such as having you losing a sense of your culture. It looks like you're potentially having severe safety consequences. And therefore, we think we meet opposition's burden from first, right?

They also talk to you about alternatives and whatnot. They tell you that DIY cosmetic surgery. We think firstly, most people will just not opt for this, right? We think this is more harm. Why? Because people-- and why do we think this is true? Firstly, we think people are likely to care deeply about something that impacts your body. And secondly, people are scared of cosmetic surgery that's done professionally. And we think they're not going to let alone not being scared of cosmetic surgery. We think that's absolutely unintuitive, right?

They also talk to you about international and going overseas, right? But we think that's just unintuitive simply because these people-- we don't think these people would be so desperate to actually get cosmetic surgery. But secondly, we told you that at least we get a benefit in terms of the ads we remove from the system, at least we get a benefit on the fact that you don't see people walking around with perfectly structured faces. And that is to say, we deal with the systematic issue. And thus, we are more than proud to affirm. Thank you.

SOFIA TZARIMAS: I didn't think I'd be in a debate today, where the opposition suggests that getting plastic surgery is a viable solution to the problems of poverty, yet here we are today. So to begin my-- so I'm going to begin my speech with rebuttal by going through the three sort of main clashes here. First of all is the principle of freedom of choice, which side has it. Second of all, how will beauty standards be affected under each model. And third, the practical outcomes, which is sort of a composite of everything else.

To begin with, I'm going to start with freedom of choice. So the opposition essentially says that you can't consent to-- we can't consent to plastic surgery under the status quo because essentially advertising and the current beauty standards are inherently or inherently so coercive that you're unable to consent. We say that this is not-- we say this is not true.

We don't think that necessarily-- we think that first of all, as I'll go on to talk about later, plastic surgery still reasonably accessible under their model. And we think that there is no mechanism given as to why plastic surgery advertising is uniquely harmful in terms of beauty standards. We would reiterate that we think that these-- we would think that in fact, freedom-- that in fact, the far more important principle of this coercion is in fact patriarchy and capitalism this intersection. And we think that is not-- we also reiterate a bunch of reasons why it's not coercive.

So we give the fact that there's not-- that you're far reasonably likely to have knowledge, right? You're likely to have done your research into this surgery. And there's also this sort of cultural fixation that we have on this idea of a botched surgery, right? These TV shows dedicated to surgeries gone wrong, and we think it's reasonable that these people would have access to that.

We'd also highlight that a lot of these surgeries are reversible. So even if it's somewhat coercive, you can still get them reversed. And we see no response from the opposition on the topic of doctors' ability of freedom of choice, the doctor's ability to influence-- the doctor's ability to insert standards when a patient is seemingly coerced. We don't get any from the doctor's legal liability, and the response that they'll take. We don't see any response to that from opposition. So overall, we get a world in which our freedom of choice is unimpeded. And that point is played by our side.

Next onto beauty standards. So the opposition sort of articulates here that, if I can find in my paper, that social culture around beauty is caused by cosmetic surgery. So they characterised this sort of predatory advertising model that's targeted towards young girls that creates these beauty standards. And that if we remove plastic surgery, we'll reduce beauty standards.

However, what they never reiterate is why the plastic surgery industry specifically causes this? Why is the plastic surgery advertising specifically that causes this issue? We have, I would say, this is caused largely by pre-existing social standards of beauty. We say that TV matters more. We say that media matters more. We'd say that modelling matters more.

We'd say there are far more-- we say there are far more present things that reiterate that cause these issues. And we'd also say that under the opposition's model of banning plastic surgery, it's very unlikely this would have any effect because the vast majority of social standards that we see today are not imputed from plastic surgery, from advertising for plastic surgery. But they're also not gained from anything within Australia, right?

Like you're not watching-- like the place where young girls get their beauty standards from aren't from like home and away, right? It's not from Australian media. It's from Americans on TikTok. So we think that overall it's very likely that the media diet you're consuming and that the reality is what influences your body image are going to be influenced by this portrayal of plastic surgery. So we overall think that under the opposition's model, you'll have an environment.

However, we do think that this actually may-- that the opposition may have a negative effect, I'll go on to this in my substantive, if I can get to it in time. But we think that essentially the opposition's model will decrease a visible social push against plastic surgery due to this perceived expectation that it's inaccessible that will reduce activist groups incentive to do something about it. And that will overall cause less visible resistance to plastic surgery, which would actually make the problem worse, given how accessible it is.

Finally, I'm going to move on to the third clash. So this third clash, which is practical outcomes, right? So we've got a whole lot of stuff lumped in here. And let's begin with the point from the opposition about-- where is it? About harms the individual rights. They sort of give two sort of central harms to the individual right. Regret. If you undertake a plastic surgery and then you'll regret it.

First of all, we think that there's a relatively high amount of screening, again, to prevent this legal liability from health care professionals. We think that they're likely to screen for possible issues. But even if this somehow falls through the cracks, we think the vast majority of these surgeries are somehow reversible, whether that's through surgical intervention, whether that's through things like BBLs, just losing the weight. But we think that the vast majority of surgeries are reversible.

And we think that even if, even if, there is still a proportion of the population, which has regret over irreversible surgeries, we still think that this is justified by the majority of people who will not regret this decision, for whom it will make an immense difference in their lives, for the transgender people who are able to live in a body that they feel comfortable with, for the survivors of accidents who have had their faces like permanently injured in ways that make them upset to look in the mirror, who can finally go around their daily lives. For people who just don't like themselves and can finally feel comfortable existing in a world, where they just feel kind of OK with themselves. We think that-- we think that even if there is a small minority that regrets this decision, it is still justifiable. And we still think that it-- and then this is-- yeah.

Then we move on to the other point from the opposition around this, which is health issues. We would say, as my previous speaker has already reiterated, that health issues are like to be accelerated on the opposition side because it's far more likely that we're going to see people going overseas for surgery or that they might get it from a source that isn't legally regulated in any way. And that because of this, there's a far higher rate of botched surgeries. There's a far higher rate of injuries. And that this is probably going to be worse on this side. And we don't get any meaningful response to that from the opposition either.

Then finally, we have this bizarre point around the low SES that says people can't access this? What are the harms to low SES people not being able to access this? The opposition basically gives like a bunch of reasons why plastic surgery is bad and then says low SES people can't access it, right? It's super inaccessible.

Why is that bad? They give this vague reason of they're disadvantaged. But we don't think that's true, right? The reasons why low SES people are disadvantaged because they have less financial agency because they're often from historically disadvantaged minorities, right? Not fitting the beauty standard is the least of these people's problems and having access to plastic surgery wouldn't meaningfully fix it in any way.

We also think that it's still somewhat accessible under their model anyway, just in a really harmful manner where it's illegal or they'll take other steps that will also be harmful to themselves. We think that under our model where it is accessible to some people, that's still good. And overall, I think this was a really weird-- I think this was sort of a bizarre argument.

Opposition here also does one thing, though, that I would like to point out. They list a bunch of benefits to getting plastic surgery for some people that we think are absolutely applicable to why it should be available under our side of the house. They list that it can make your life significantly easier and we think that's a really good argument as to why plastic surgery performs an important function. And we don't see any reasons from opposition-- like this is just--

OK. Now, I'm going to gather up all of this, and move on to my central point. So my central-- sorry. All right. So my central point here is that permitting cosmetic surgery improves the public discourse around plastic surgery and freedom of choice. So you've already established these practical impacts of plastic surgery that it'll still be somewhat accessible to people, that it's far more likely to be botched under the opposition's model, right?

What's the current organic change within society, right? There's a shift towards natural beauty as an idea. There's currently a shift towards body positivity through feminist movements. There's a trans movement that says, you don't need surgery to be trans that you can as long as you are personally satisfied with your body. You don't need to say get bottom surgery or top surgery.

And there's also-- and there's also a general scepticism towards the plastic surgery industry as exploitative, as something that isn't necessarily wholly positive, right? Then, how will banning this, how will adding another layer of government coercion by saying this is outlawed for all groups, how will this affect the social debate around it?

First of all, we think feminists are far more likely to pivot towards defending plastic surgery, right? When you have this impediment to women's ability to make choices, right? Feminists are far more likely to intervene to say that women should have that choice, even if that means defending an industry that generally that might have some negative impacts on women. We think that trans people are also likely to defend it because this is something that benefits a lot of trans people.

And we think that the media overall is far more likely to be less concerned with plastic surgery as an exploitative industry. And also with most beauty standards as a whole, because if you can say that a beauty standard makes women suffer, sure, but so do other things. If there's not this visceral-- the media is aiming to-- the media aims to focus on the sort of sensationalistic image of what sells, right? And if it's just that this hypothetical that's far more likely to be focused on. And I'm going to wrap up my speech here.


NARA GONG: We thought the main victims in today's debate were not as negative would have you believe. You know, trans people who want a gender reaffirming surgery, because obviously we would just make an exception for them under our side of the house. And it was not people who were going to go overseas all the way to Brazil to get unregulated surgery because we think that was just an incredibly unrealistic harm.

But in fact, it was the young girls or the young boys who grew up seeing unrealistic beauty standards when they walked into their local Westfield and they got bombarded by an ad that told them if you just pay $100, you are going to feel so much better about yourself, if you just let us give you this liposuction. Your life is going to be changed.

We think those were the people that we managed to stop under our side of the house because we reduced the accessibility and the ability of these people in the cosmetic industry to pervasively target you in your daily life. Now 3 themes in today's debate. Firstly on the principle. Secondly on which side of the house fixes beauty culture. And thirdly on the harms to individuals.

So firstly onto the principle. We tell you that it is coercive and we give you a couple of reasons. We tell you that these beauty industries exploit a human need to fit in. That when you see other people doing it, you're coerced into trying it yourself. We told you beauty norms are very deeply entrenched. We gave you the example of ads in the shopping centre.

And therefore, in response, they give us a couple of reasons why you can consent. They tell you of online information, you care because it's money, and people are naturally risk averse. We think that the coercive force and the inflated sense of benefit that the industry manufactures of plastic surgery makes it so that you can't weigh up or those factors they give you in your decision-making just fall flat against this fake benefit that they give you. For example, even though you're naturally risk averse, because they've made you believe that plastic surgery is so essential to your life, your weigh up of risk versus reward is so different than what it actually should be. So we think it is still coercive.

They then tell you doctors have power. We think doctors have profit incentive. Their responsibility extends towards maybe trying to get you a safe surgery. But if they feel that you're on the fence about this, they're still going to give you the surgery because you're the one paying them thousands of dollars to give it, to have the surgery.

Now next, they tell you that there is no harm to this coercion, which we think we've proven. And I'll go on to reiterate in my other themes why there is such a massive harm to people. Finally, at the end of this theme, we think even if you don't buy what we tell you about plastic surgery being coercive and therefore, us not having to value this freedom of choice. Even if we do violate the freedom of choice, we tell you that one, the government has a duty of care to prevent people from the harms that you get with plastic surgery.

And two, we really just don't care. Because when the benefit that we give you is that we're able to make a change, a long-term change towards the beauty culture, and these social expectations for women. We think that was just so much more important than this freedom of choice argument they give you.

So now onto the second theme of how we change beauty culture. The first thing that they try to tell us that they get this sort of organic change. But we tell you that there was always going to be a tension in their world. When on one hand, you had groups of people telling you that natural beauty was so important, but then on the other hand, you had a thriving industry that was telling you that you should change things. When you had the government telling you that sure, you can go change, you can go have this really invasive procedure done by not banning it, we think that was a tension that was going to mean organic change in their world would always be worse than what would happen in our world.

So next, they give you this rhetoric about plastic surgery is the symptom not the root and capitalism and the media is the actual problem. First response here, we target those roots because those companies that they blame are now unable to do things like survive in Australia. They're unable to do things like run ads at supermarkets. And they're unable to pervade your daily life in the same way that they could before.

Secondly, we told you, sure, that skin care and maybe other industries might still exist. But we told you plastic surgery itself was the most invasive in the-- so that is to say that cutting fat off from your stomach was always going to be worse than going on daily walks. That is why we think we still had a massive benefit on our side.

And the third thing to say here is that we gave you a difference between what you see in the media versus what you see in daily life. So what you see like on TikTok, you sort of realise that those are far away from you, they're far removed from your daily life. There's these sort of unrealistic standards like in the way that we see people in movies, right? Versus when you see ads in daily life targeting you, when you see people coming into your workplace having had these procedures done and get complimented over and over. We think that is far more pervasive, and that is why we reduce sort of the reach of this culture.

Now the next final thing they tell you is that people will still meet these beauty standards by doing DIY or overseas. Firstly, we think that maybe it is true that the ones most impacted might feel an urge, but we think a sufficient disincentive that it's a small minority of the population. That is to say that the government is telling you that you shouldn't get this surgery done. We think that's a big social message.

Secondly, you have travel costs, you have to buy a plane ticket. Third, you have to take time off work. You have to spend your recovery in a foreign country that is probably something very scary to you. So we think, we stop the majority of people who got plastic surgery because of advertising and because of how accessible it was.

Right now, you can literally walk to your local supermarket and go somewhere and just have a procedure done in like an hour because there are stores everywhere. We stopped that. And we stopped the majority of people who are going to get cosmetic surgery. So we had a huge benefit on our side.

The next thing to say here is because we stopped the majority of people from getting plastic surgery, it is not normalised in the way it is now. So you see less people around you getting it, therefore, it feels like a scarier thing. You don't feel the need to do it to conform. Now we also give you other mechanisms that our culture changes.

For example, we tell you, you have discourse when you set this initial ban. They tell you, no, activist groups have their incentive loss. We tell you this is just unrealistic and a bit silly because these activist groups presumably care a lot about changing beauty culture, changing these standards that make you get cosmetic surgery. So they're always going to be fighting.

The next thing we tell you is that social messaging from the government, which we don't think got a sufficient response. And the third thing is what I've said before about normalisation. We think this was an undeniable mechanism that they haven't been able to fully deal with. So that is why, at the end of this debate, we-- no, sorry.

At the end of this theme, we think we were able to stop the majority of people from getting plastic surgery, the people who saw how accessible it was and decided to get it in their local shopping centre, which we thought was a massive benefit because from that, you could get long-term changes like more discussion on how stupid beauty standards were. And less normalisation that doesn't push people to feel as bad about themselves, that doesn't manufacture insecurities about the way you look. So which is why we think we've already won the debate.

But now onto my final theme of the harms to individuals. We told you two main things. Firstly, people will regret it. We told you this is especially likely because the trend cycles of plastic surgery. For example, right now, the trend is to get eye lifts to get fox eyes. We told you that people often can't reverse it.

They just asserted you could, but we think if you shave off a bunch of your nose, it's probably really hard to get that bit back. We think it's also costly procedures that you would have to put a lot more money into. So we think it was incredibly hard to reverse it. The second thing we told you is that you have botched and high-risk procedures. They told you it'll happen in our world, anyway. We already sufficiently proved why it's incredibly unrealistic.

So therefore, we think, we had a bunch of huge harms to individuals. But what did they say here? They say people will go overseas where stuff is riskier. Two responses. Firstly, we already said this is a minority of people. Secondly, we think, if you have the capital to go overseas, you will likely to probably have be well-off. So you are able to afford the best plastic surgeons to minimise that harm to yourself, if you really were so rich and so set in your ways.

Secondly, they told you, you could DIYs in home. We think this contradicts what they tell you at first about how people do these thought out decisions about plastic surgery. We think that because the nuance in our case is that you feel this pressure, but you also actually respond and take action to that pressure because it's so accessible, whereas in our world, after we have this change, we think it's less accessible.

So you don't have people really going to extreme measures like DIYs in home because they were motivated by the accessibility. So now, we think that we have huge harms to individuals that they haven't been able to successfully negate. So we think we've won this debate. And we're incredibly proud to affirm. Thank you.


MELISSA LIU: The opposition defends a world that misdiagnoses the root of the problem and implemented a policy that causes significantly more harm than good by forcing people to take harmful methods and removing them of their freedom of choice. The opposition's best case scenario is in one in which A, cosmetic surgery is extremely coercive, and B, people stop seeking cosmetic surgery, whereas our worst case scenario was one in which a small amount of people seek other methods which was conceded by the opposition.

Before I even go into my themes, let me tell you why our worst case scenario is better than their best case scenario. Because in a world, where even a small minority of people are going to other countries to seek more harmful methods, that is so harmful to them, right? For the same reasons like they gave you as to why cosmetic surgery was harmful. It was significantly more harmful in other countries.

And they conceded that this minority of people would be accepting this harm, which we thought, yes, that's terrible because it's a small amount of people, but the harm to them is significant, right? People die because of cosmetic surgery in other countries. People suffer lifelong consequences, like they said and we said-- we say to you that these harms are significantly worse under their side of the house.

So we thought that even if you accept our worst case scenario of a small amount of people going to other countries to get cosmetic surgery, this harm to this group of people is so much worse compared to the harm that they give you under their side about no one getting cosmetic surgery anymore in Australia. Note, that's the most important thing in this debate. A few things in the speech. Firstly, on random bits of rebuttal. Secondly on coercion. Thirdly on who has the most harmful outcome.

So firstly on random bits of rebuttal. We brought out a stakeholder about trans people in the beginning, because cosmetic surgery is just any surgery that is for the purpose of cosmetic things purely, right? That includes transgender surgery. They said that they would like exclude this group of people. A few responses to this.

Firstly, we say that excluding any group of people from their model significantly downplays any benefits that they bring to that case. A soft model gives them a lack of benefits. Secondly, we say that this necessitates some sort of slippery slope, right? How is a trans person with gender dysphoria around their jaw different from a cis woman who has body dysmorphia around the shape of their jaw, right?

Their both medical conditions and their both very, very legitimate. We thought that it's very legitimate to have cosmetic surgery around issues for cosmetic purposes, because that is the world we live in, in which beauty culture is so pervasive that it literally influences your mental health, and it has real world outcomes. So that's our response to the trans people thing.

They also gave us a bit of material at third about the media that we brought out about culture and media TV versus plastic surgery ad specifically. They told us that, you know, people feel removed from media culture because it's on TV. And we told you about, OK, on plastic surgery ads are on TV anyway, they're on a screen, right?

So if people aren't going to be affected by other forms of media such as shows and models and advertisements, then why would they be affected by plastic surgery ads, right? So if you believe this mechanism, then you wouldn't believe a lot of their mechanism that told you why plastic surgery advertisements were so harmful in the first place. So now let me move on to coercion.

What did we hear from you, from the affirmative? We heard you-- we heard them say that people aren't informed because of advertisements, they make impulsive decisions, and beauty culture is just that, that coercive, right? It's so, so bad. So what do we tell you here?

We told you that firstly, people are able to be informed, right. Because firstly, we thought that there was a lot of information online. Secondly, we felt that people care about what they're doing to their body. Plastic surgery is a surgery. It takes a lot of money. It costs a lot of money. It costs a lot of time. It's a very time-consuming, resource-consuming process.

That means that you are very, very likely to inform yourself before you take this decision. And even if you like-- OK and secondly, we thought that even if you buy the material about how people are uninformed, we thought that doctors are informed. Because in Australia, they have the legal liability to inform their patients, make sure that patients are mentally able to make this decision before they perform this process.

What did we hear from the affirmative on this? They said that doctors have a money incentive to perform the surgery anyway and they're trying to make these patients buy into the surgery. We told you that the money incentive of literally facing a lawsuit that would cause you to close down your entire business and that would cost you thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars, significantly outweighs the like $1,000 that you're going to get from one cosmetic procedure. So we thought that for the exact same mechanism that they give you, the money incentive, we thought that doctors were even more likely to inform you in the first place.

And then we thought-- and then we tell you, even if it's not coercive like the opposition needed to prove that this coerciveness is so, so, so bad that it overrides the principle of freedom of choice. And that was-- and that this theme was not something that they could win on. But then we heard from the third speaker that they don't really care about this principle anyway.

But we told you that actually, we care a lot because lots of things that are very harmful aren't bad, right? Such as sugar, such as drugs, alcohol, that's so bad for you, but it's not banned because we value people's freedom of choice. That's what we've been telling you this entire time. So at the end of this coercion argument, the opposition told you that they don't care. We told you that we do care and we gave you a lot of mechanisms as to why and we significantly heighten their burden of harm.

So now let me move on to the harmful outcomes of this debate. So the opposition gives you a lot of really compelling rhetoric as to why beauty culture is very, very coercive, right? They told you that there's lots of advertisements, people are likely to buy into this. Just a note on that advertisement, it's actually illegal to advertise surgeries on TV or in media in Australia.

So actually, a lot of them, too, on that doesn't work anyway. How many times have you seen a plastic surgery ad on TV? Very, very little. How many times you see a TikToker with a filter on their body dancing all over the place? A lot of the times because we live on TikTok now. So we thought that a lot of that material on advertisement of the plastic surgery industry doesn't actually stand. OK.

So the opposition tells you that they gave you all of this really great like material on coercion, but they never told you why these coercive forces don't exist under their side of the house, right? We told you that, yes, we agree with all of these coercive forces. Beauty culture is terrible. And because you're removing plastic surgery in Australia, then you get a lot worse outcomes on the outside of the house.

Just to note before I elaborate on this, the opposition actually completely abandoned their stakeholder of the low SES people, right? We heard two contradictions under their side. Their first speaker came out and told you that cosmetic surgery is accessible. But then the second speaker came out and told you that is very, very expensive.

So which is it then? If cosmetic surgery is very accessible, it undercuts their material about low SES suffering because they couldn't access it, right? Because it gave you a lot of material about why low SES people suffer because they can't be beautiful. But then they told you that actually cosmetic surgery is super accessible. So that was a contradiction there.

If you believed that cosmetic surgery was actually very expensive, then that undercuts a lot of the health harms, right? Because the only people who are going to be buying into this very expensive cosmetic surgery were really rich people who could afford to buy lawsuits, who could afford to go against doctors who are malpracticing. So we thought-- so I really challenge-- and also at the third speaker, they told you about the people they cared about were young women and note that they completely abandoned this stakeholder. Yeah.

So moving on to other methods like the general harm of plastic surgery. What did we hear from them? They told us that plastic surgery is really harmful. It has a lot of irreversible damage. What do we tell you? Firstly, it's significantly safer in Australia than it is in other countries, right?

All surgeries are unsafe to some extent because of the risk of bacteria. So the practitioners in Australia are trained sufficiently, right? They have a lot of legal liability in order to do this well. And they have a lot of-- and they have to do this really well. You can't say the same for plastic surgery in other countries.

Note, the opposition's harms of health benefits are worse under their own side where people are accessing cosmetic surgery in other countries. And we will prove this even further. And secondly, before that, even if it was unsafe, people chose, people made this decision, people bought into this, people were informed, and they accepted this risk so we thought it was OK.

Why were people likely to go to other countries? What we heard from the opposition against this was that it's foreign, it takes a lot of time. So I want to do some characterisation about why people get plastic surgery in the first place. People do it because of the coercive forces of beauty, right? People really-- like if you're a woman, you're being told that your self-worth is tied to your aesthetic beauty, you're going to get plastic surgery.

If plastic surgery is banned in Australia, you're just going to go get it in another country. Plastic surgery is already really expensive. Plastic surgery is already a huge resource. There is absolutely no reason why you wouldn't go to another country in order to get this plastic surgery. And we gave you at first plenty of reasons why it was significantly more harmful.

And even if you weren't going to go into other countries, the beauty culture would still exist. And you would just buy into other methods such as dieting culture, bodybuilding culture, physical altercation, DIY lip sets that were significantly more harmful. The opposition did not solve the root problem in the case. I'm very proud to negate.


GEMMA HEDAYATI: All right. So first of all, I'd like to say on behalf of the panel that we thought this was a fantastic state final. So I'd like to encourage everyone to give another round of applause.


So as a panel, we thought that this was a fantastic debate. We thought that both teams gave us a really fun, really engaging debate this morning. So we're just very grateful to have seen such a high quality debate. So first of all, I'll give some feedback that the panel came up with. And then I will move on to how we made our decision today.

So in terms of feedback, first of all, as I said, fantastic final. We thought what was so good to see is that both teams had some really great ideas that came through in the arguments and in their rebuttal. We thought that this showed how creative both teams were and how they were both able to really organise their ideas quite well and have several reasons for each of their arguments. So we thought that this was quite impressive.

In terms of feedback for the next debate, this kind of links on to my feedback of what went really well. We think that sometimes this went a bit too well and that teams would have long lists of several different reasons that sometimes just became a little bit unclear. So we thought that both teams needed to focus a bit more on clarity and choosing which of their ideas was the most important. And then painting a very clear picture for us as an audience of what that looked like.

So when I say that, it would be great to hear how people who get plastic surgery feel, what's going on in their heads, and how do they feel after this surgery. So talk about that in a really, really concrete way. And that's just a lot more engaging for us to hear rather than 4 reasons of why x, y, and z happens. So that was our first piece of feedback to both teams.

And our second piece of feedback is in a similar way, just to focus on being clear when you're talking. So instead of all of these fancy debating languages, it's sometimes a little bit better to just have something that's very clear for an audience to hear. And that's just remembering that the average person who hears you may not be a debater. And so instead of talking about mechanising this or that, just give us like a clear kind of set example. And just talk about that rather than something that's like a little bit more debatery.

OK. So that's all of our feedback. Obviously, we love debating here. Not talking down on that, but just focusing on giving us something that's quite clear and tangible. OK. So all of that feedback aside, once again, fantastic final, which we thought both teams absolutely smashed it out of the park. But the 3 themes we thought we had at the end of this debate was first of all, freedom of choice, second of all, an impact on patients, and third of all, we talked about a beauty and culture like stuff. Not to use that word stuff. Yeah.

First of all, freedom of choice. We heard the affirmative say that people weren't able to actively consent for several reasons. First of all, that there was a manipulativeness of beauty culture, and that people will talk down on their self-esteem, which meant that they were forced into do things. That was a combination of the patriarchy, a combination of capitalism, which meant that they weren't able to easily consent as it preyed on their insecurities. We also heard that there was several different groups of vulnerable people, and that the government needed to step in and protect them. We thought that this was a good principle that was set up from the affirmative.

The negative team had several responses to this. Let me just find my notes. First of all, they said that it's actually not that coercive, that people have an active incentive to research for themselves the risks, that there's a prevalence of the botched TV show, which shows surgeries gone wrong. Also that there is systems in place, doctors have to protect you. Worse comes to worse, if doctors don't, that there is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

And we thought that all of these reasons from the negative were actually extremely convincing to say that potentially people do have the freedom of choice. And worse comes to absolute worst, if they don't there is some really clear systems in place to protect these people. So at the end of this freedom of choice argument, we were convinced that people ultimately did have the freedom at the moment to make whatever decision worked for them in terms of surgery or not.

Secondly, onto the impacts of patients. We had 2 main points under this. Firstly, about coercion. Secondly, about the health impacts of surgery. So on this point of coercion, we already touched on it. The affirmative gave us several reasons why people weren't making choices freely.

And as I said, the negative gave us a few different responses to this that were all really clear and were all quite convincing. They said that doctors take an oath, doctors have to protect you, that it's clear people do their own research. But also, late in the debate, they said that there's actually not ads for plastic surgery, which we thought was true, but their other material was a bit more convincing here.

They also made this comparison about things that people can do currently like braces that are still cosmetic and those with any medical procedure a slight risk, but this is ultimately up to individual's choice, and they should be able to have this choice. So on this impact point, we still thought there wasn't that coercion that the affirmative said there was. But also that there was potentially a small positive impact of people feeling confident. We thought this impact needed to be expanded upon by the negative greatly, but we still thought that they had convinced us on that coercion point.

Now onto that second impact of health. We heard from the affirmative about how these surgeries were not reversible. People would have regrets and that this was ultimately really bad for the health, especially with bacteria, people can die. All of that stuff, we heard from the affirmative. Once again, good material, but we thought that the negative had some good responses to this by saying that actually, it's quite unlikely to happen, especially in a country like Australia where these things are regulated.

But ultimately, on the affirmative side of the house, we were going to see all of these risks, but 10 times worse because people would potentially be going overseas or would be doing backyard liposuction or something like that, which was going to just be worse. So on the impact to patients we, once again, thought that there wasn't such a bad impact. And we thought that it was actually going to get actively worse with the affirmative's model.

Now onto that beauty and culture argument. We heard from the affirmative that there was going to be this huge cultural change, and that everyone was going to be less insecure, and that there was going to be less of this culture surrounding beauty. We didn't think that this was explained massively well by either team in the debate. But we had the affirmative tell us that ultimately, we would be like less superficial as a society and that people would have less insecurities.

The negative told us that people would turn to other things like dieting, like bodybuilding, and that there was always going to be this culture, and this was just one small aspect of this culture. At the end of this point, we did think that this was a symptom and not the cause. So we did think that ultimately this beauty culture would not change massively with the affirmative team's model.

So because of this, at the end of this debate, we did think that it was probably better on the negative side to have people able to do whatever they wanted with their bodies and also be safer as they were protected by the government. So because of that, we have awarded it to the negative team today.


So congratulations to the negative, but excellent work to both teams for a fantastic state final.


AILEEN CAO: All right. So hi to everyone watching whether it be from behind the screen or here. We would like to thank [inaudible] for such an interesting and engaging debate today. It's nice to see you guys again. And yeah thanks to all the adjudicators for giving us such insightful and interesting feedback. And thanks to all of the teachers who have supported us along our journey to get to the state grand final. And thank you everyone for being here.


MIRI STUBBS-GOULSTON: So on behalf of Sydney Girls, I'd like to issue a bunch of thank you's. So first, we'd like to thank James Ruse for coming here and debating us today. You guys made for a really engaging and informative debate, which we really enjoyed and you're such a strong team. We were all so impressed by your abilities. And you definitely have very bright futures in debating in the coming years.

I'd also like to thank, yes, the adjudicators for coming here and giving us such insightful feedback. And also to our teachers and coaches. So Ms. Vicenzio and Ms. Nguyen have both been such amazing helps to us and so supportive. And also to our coaches Ava, Alex, and Dan who weren't able to attend attend, but have taught us so much.

And generally, just thank you to everyone in the audience for coming here and watching us. And to the people from our school for coming here and supporting us. And yeah, the PDC has been such a great opportunity. And we are so grateful. Thank you.


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