Video transcript
NSW Premier's Debating Challenge 2023 – Primary Schools State Debating Championships Final

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[intro music]

REECE MILLS: Welcome to the state final of the Primary Schools Debating Championships. My name is Reece Mills. I'm from Jamberoo Public School. And the timekeeper today is Will Timosevski sorry-- from Collaroy Plateau Public School.

Before we begin, I want to acknowledge that we are meeting on the traditional lands of the First Nations people. On behalf of the Department of Education, I want to show my respect to the elders past and present of that nation of all First Nations people.

The affirmative team today represents Northern Sydney. First speaker, Olivia, second speaker, Cynthia, third speaker, Kyle, fourth speaker, Aditya. Is that correct?

ADITYA PAUL: It's 'Aditya'.

REECE MILLS: Aditya. The negative team represents Illawarra and South East. First speaker, Astrid, second speaker, Oscar, third speaker, Halle and fourth speaker, Angel. The adjudicators for this debate is Ally, Jeremiah and Nikolai. Speaking time for this debate is 4 minutes. There'll be a warning bell at 3 minutes, 2 bells at 4 minutes and a continuous bell at 5 minutes.

The topic for this debate is that kids in Year 5 and above to have to get a job for one afternoon a week-- a paid job. Finally, please take a moment to make sure all mobile phones are switched off. Now, please, welcome to the first-- please welcome the first affirmative speaker to open this debate.


OLIVIA HYUN: There is a massive problem in today's society. Students in Year 5 and 6 and above are not prepared when joining the workforce. They instead are unqualified and are stressed when joining or getting a job. Thus, we, the affirmative, propose that from Year 5 to Year 9 will partake in mandatory job skills program on the preferred day of the week.

They will work for community services-- organisations like Rotary and Lifeline. They will be paid by the government and win a minimum wage. Students will be supervised by the trained professionals. After Year 9, students will be allowed to participate in official jobs. Companies and these organisations will have an incentive to help students get jobs because many do not have enough workers. I will prove that we provide preparation for the future as well as responsibility. My second speaker will show how this allows students to utilise these skills and educate on the workforce.

I will now move on to my first argument, which we'll talk about how it will prepare students for the future. In the current world, students are entering the workforce in Year 9, completely clueless and unaware about everything which will clearly result in occasional mistakes, as they are undereducated with no job experience. However, in our model, we are giving students the opportunity to learn from paid community services, which will be extremely beneficial for their future.

This way, students who now have the experience will now know and understand the expectations from these services. So, thus, they will enjoy their shifts even more in the future, as the standards of their work have been clearly outlined, resulting in less stress for these students. We understand that the workforce is an extremely different environment and condition from their normal lives. So by implementing this change, it will positively affect students' lives.

Now I will explain 5 mechanisms to explain how our model works. Firstly, we believe that students would enjoy the experience, especially because they will be getting paid for each shift. Furthermore, students will know that they are benefiting from the various life skills that they will gain from this experience, which leads me to my second mechanism of the experience in the workforce.

Students are not going to work for official companies such as Woolworths or Coles. They are working for community service organisations-- for example, Lifeline and Rotary-- until they are Year 9. Therefore, we can see this as a trial period which will help students understand the workforce.

Thirdly, when students get the experience earlier on in their life, they will get less stress for the future when they are working for official companies.


However, right now, when they are young and currently have zero work experience, they will be comfortable with the lower standards of community service organisations. Fourthly, students are going to learn how to be responsible and independent, which I will elaborate in my second argument. Lastly, it is also a moral obligation of the government to ensure students are prepared for the future.

In comparison, the opposition's world will not be able to provide such benefits. There may be an education, but we believe the actual experience is the most rewarding. Thus, we prove students with preparation for the future.

I will now move on to my second argument, which will talk about the improvement of responsibility and independency. In the current world, students in Grade 5 and 6 are not responsible--

[double bell]

--and we believe that our model will solve the problem. Firstly, when students join the workforce, they are able to develop time management skills, which will be useful in their daily life, such as homework alongside balancing their job and other activities. We also believe that students will spend their money wisely and responsibly and also utilise other skills in the future, as my second speaker will elaborate. When students are working in a job, they are clearly able to develop independency when doing the tasks they are assigned and ensuring that they are completed properly.

At the end of my speech, I have been able to prove that this will be useful for the future and this will be useful in helping students prepare for the future and develop responsibility and independency. Thus, we believe that students in Year 5 and above should have to get a paid job for one afternoon a week.


ASTRID HEDE: The first affirmative speaker suggested in their model that students work at Lifeline. First of all, you need training to work at Lifeline. And I don't think you can have a 9-year-old on the phone to someone trying to talk them down from a dangerous situation. Nine-year-olds don't have that sort of mental capacity to handle the seriousness of the issues that older people face.

They also stated the fact that when if you're working early, you'll be less-- you will be more likely to be able to be better when you get older. Do you think a 9-year-old can really handle the facts working in any sort of company? Because although you might be better at it when you're older, think about a 9-year-old starting at a business. That won't have a very good effect on their later life. More on that later.

Right now in the world, there are children growing up prepared for the workforce because they're not being forced into it. There is no force involved. There's nothing wrong with the status quo because they get to do it when they're older, because they're more mature.

Today, I will be making 3 points-- one, children don't have a voice, 2, the impact on the supervisors or the adults in charge and the effect on the stakeholders. Then our second speaker will talk about the emotional effects, the other commitments that students might have and the roles of parents.

Our team's first argument will show that children can't advocate for themselves. It is a right to have a voice. So by forcing children into a workforce, not only are you scarring innocent kids for life, but you are taking away their rights. You are infringing on their rights, because the affirmative team is suggesting that we force-- adults are forcing children into the workforce. Adults will immediately have taken away their voice because adults have the power.

Children are looking up to adults. And because it's their first time in the workforce-- and because it's their first time in the workforce, they will need someone to look up to. And so if adults are setting the wrong example, what's going to happen to these children? They're going to be scarred and not be able to speak up for themselves because they're so scared. Because they're, like, well, there's nothing I can do. I may as well not speak up for myself. And so, so what? Because you're infringing on their rights. You are literally putting them in danger for this.

Now to my second point. Our team's second point will show the effect that it has on supervisors. Imagine trying to do a difficult job and now imagine trying to do it with a 9-year-old right beside you asking you what you do. I know that would be hard. Everyone in this room knows that that would be hard because a kid is too young to be handling this. Because, first of all, it will cause the adult-- who does know what they're doing-- his job not to be done properly, making a very dangerous situation for everyone around them. Because kids--


Because everyone is learning what's going on, right? When it's your first time in a job, it takes you a little bit of time to learn. When you're younger, it takes you triple that time to learn. Everything takes time, particularly for kids.

Now to my third and final-- So what? Kids are still learning fundamental life skills. And doing things wrong, at times, adults can get frustrated. And sometimes when an adult gets frustrated, if they haven't had enough experience with children, they're going to scar the poor, innocent children because they haven't worked with children. And they don't know that children-- I think all the children sitting in this room right now know that if an adult yells at you when you're trying to learn, it's going to make it very hard for you to go back and work the next day.

And you might think that it's worthless. You might think that more work is getting done. In fact, it's actually less work. Less work is getting done. Because not only are the people who do know what they're doing having to teach these people, but the people who you've hired to do more community service or whatever are not going to be able to do it because--

[double bell]

--they don't understand.

Now to my third point. Our third point will show more of an impact on how it has on kids. So let's assume that they're working a day a week, like the topic says and they're working 3 hours-- so from 4:00 to 7:00 or 3:00 to 6:00, whatever. That is 210 hours a year on something that is harming them or on something that is scarring them for life or on something that is pointless, utterly pointless. Why should children be wasting their valuable time on things that they could be building up their brainpower so they're more mature for this in the future on something that is pointless?

The youngest person who would be doing this job is a 9-year-old. And even if they have support, they're going to be-- a 9-year-old struggles to unpack the dishwasher, the simplest of job. And so imagine how they're going to be feeling, as suggested by the affirmative team, if they're at Lifeline trying to help someone if they can't even unpack the dishwasher.

[continuous bell]


CYNTHIA CAI: Ladies and gentlemen, as the affirmative team, we believe that it is our moral obligation to make sure kids are prepared when they enter Australia's workforce. We believe that our model will benefit all stakeholders and successfully prepare children for work and future.

Before I continue to further explain this, I'd like to point out some flaws in the opposition's case. So they stated that it's a waste of time and the status quo is fine. And we have 3 responses to this. First of all, we believe that this is only one hour-- one to 2 hours a week and this is only one to 2 hours out of a total of 168 hours in a week.

Second of all, we don't believe that this is a waste of time. Having a paid job, as I'll continue to talk about later, means bringing so many benefits to students. These include, one, developing skills like responsibility and independence, 2, getting insight about Australia's workforce and 3, further expanding skills learned from school like critical thinking skills.

Also, the earlier students start, the less stress there will be later on when they are forced to get a job. If this were to happen when they get a job in Year 10 to Year 12, the pressure that builds up during this time is going to be unbearable. Our third response is that we believe that getting a paid job is way more important than any extra hour in the week spent socialising or studying because a job essentially incorporates all of this and involves these features as well.

They've stated that kids are too stressed and are too young for this. And we say we actually believe that kids are just a fine age considering the kind of work they will be doing. Under our model, it's usually hospitality training or community service that they are doing and we don't believe that this kind of work will, in fact, stress kids at all.

They say that kids are untrustworthy. And we respond by saying, firstly, in their example about Lifeline, Lifeline has volunteer stores where students can participate in. And also, depending on their age, as our model is stating, the difficulty of the job will vary. So if they're in Year 5, they won't be doing a really complex job as a Year 9 kid would be doing.

They've stated that kids can't do difficult jobs once again. And we respond by saying, we are not teaching them anything difficult in a way that gets them in over their head, only things like community service and these trainings. They've stated that younger students will be on the phone. And we respond by saying, in our model, we clearly state that this change will be implemented for students in Grade 5 and above and it's not going to be this young age.

Lastly, they say that this will be their first time in the workforce. And we say, as our first speaker stated, they will have simple jobs with professionally-educated trainers. And we're not expecting them to have excellent skills. It's just an experience which will benefit them in the future.

So now on to my substantive. We, as the affirmative team, believe the status quo in Australia is a society where millions of children are being forced to explore the harshness of a job being unprepared, underqualified and overstressed when they enter the workforce. However, after that changes with our model, we believe these negative scenarios will be mitigated through the education given to young kids at a time, such as Year 5, where they're less stressed and more prone to remember things.

So in my speech, I'll prove 2 things. Firstly, why a paid job will help put students' skills to practise and, secondly, how this change will educate them about the workforce. So on to my first point about how a paid job will help utilise the skills students learn in class-- so currently, students are learning various subjects in class, such as literacy and numeracy skills.


We as the affirmative believe that these skills are not as absorbed as they could be as by having a job. Then students can apply the skills that they learnt at school to these jobs. We believe that under our change, students will be able to apply literacy and numeracy skills better, as they are quite literally putting them into use from jobs. We believe that compared to the current world, this benefit of applying jobs learnt in class will be maximised from jobs because students simply have had more time to get used to it. Some examples of this is students doing quick mental math to calculate prices, using critical thinking skills to engage with customers, as well as honing their time management skills through reporting on shifts on time.

Eventually, all these skills will also come back to the school. This is shown when students can apply the skills they learn from school to work and then with improved skills from work, they will come back to school with an even more developed skill set. This creates a positive feedback loop. At the end of this cycle, this will mean we have more skilled, empathetic and understanding students and a more reliable workforce in the future.

So now on to my second argument about educating students about the workforce. So because students under our model will get the first-hand experience--

[double bell]

--of what it is like to have a job, we believe that this will, in fact, give them a taste of the workforce. At the ripening time of Year 5, we think that this is the optimum age to start developing this insight. This way of showing and giving them understanding about Australia's workforce means preparing them for the future starting at a young age. So if, as our status quo currently functions, where students only start getting a job in later life, such as Year 10 to Year 12, we believe that this will have a far bigger impact on their education when Year 10 to Year 12 students are, because Year 10 and Year 12 is a time to prepare for university.

So starting young brings many benefits. Firstly, it prepares them for proper jobs once they hit the minimum working age. Also, younger students learn quicker and it will be easier for them to develop skills required in a paid job.

So why is it important to educate students about the workforce? I have 2 reasons to explain why this is the case. Firstly, students will be so stressed about getting a job later on in life when they are desperately in need of one. Secondly, these students will be better equipped to know exactly what they are getting themselves into in terms of the jobs market. As stated by my first speaker already, the Australian government has a moral obligation to make sure students are better equipped when finding a job in the future.

[continuous bell]

So this I'm proud to affirm. Thank you.


OSCAR MCCLURE: Thank you. OK, so-- OK, so negative teams add that they can apply the lessons that they learned in schools to real life. This is false because if they're tired from working and all the other extracurricular activities, they're not going to be able to learn those things in the first place. And the people who already have those skills are going to have successful lives statistically. So you won't be helping the most disadvantaged of our community who don't have those skills or are finding trouble at schools. So they're going to have to struggle with them teaching basic life things.

Also, the things that you said, that people as young as Year 9 can be handling Lifeline, that is people committing suicide. That is such a big deal that, one, 9-year-olds don't even understand the concept of it, especially if they haven't been taught at a young age. And that's why they have counselling for Lifeline people, because a lot of them are, 'Did I convince that person not to kill themselves?' And they have to go into therapy to convince them, 'No, I did not-- I wasn't-- it's not my fault that they killed themselves.' Imagine if a child, who does not have the same emotional tools, is forced to face the world.

Also, you talked about how this will give them the skills, but you also talked about all the negative won't be as big because it's only one hour. But since there's only one hour, all your positives of learning these skills can't be accruing because it's only one hour. In that one hour, you can't really do work because you have to check in, do all the things that you need to-- oh, that person was there. You can't do all those things because you're spending your entire-- you can't learn any skills because you're spending your entire hour doing the admin, say, you're there and all the booking.

Also, they create another fourth argument that kids aren't learning and are going into the workforce unprepared. This is false because we have things in high school called TAFE courses, which especially train older children these things to go into it so they're not scared. So they know what job they want to get. Everyone knows them, so they won't feel awkward going into that job. And they get those skills to get a job.

Why is it better to get them doing it young? First, it's only one hour, so you're not getting any benefits. And as you talked about earlier, they're going to get supervisors to look over them, which is wrong for its own reasons, but also wrong because then now, obviously, workers don't have their own supervisors. They don't have a supervisor that's just caring about them. So they're not going to get the actual experience of working in the workforce, especially since all the other workforce are going to treat them like a child and not give them any other job. And they only have to work for one hour, so that's another reason why they're not going to treat them like an actual worker.

Also, you also said that they can work in jobs like Lifeline. And something that we didn't hear, I would like to see some clarification on what that job is, or at least explain to me what it is. I'm sorry, but, yeah, you just misheard that. Also, the thing about getting supervisors--


--is wrong in its own right because where are we getting these supervisors? If they want to actually teach kids and work there, they're going to have to have at least a degree in teaching, which we're having a gigantic teacher shortage because teachers aren't getting paid and it's not exactly a rewarding career to enter in. So they're going to have a shortage.

And also, workforces aren't built to teach. That's what schools are for. They're built to teach you. Built to give the resources to go and get-- Workforces are-- jobs are built to, you have those skills so you can actually practise them. And while it's giving-- you can still learn a job because have a bare minimum necessary to actually do those jobs. They're not teaching you how to do the bare minimum because they assume if you're going to school, you know those things. And there's disadvantaged people who don't know, or even the advantage people who do know all those things won't get the ability to learn those things.

Also, a lot of people who-- we're not talking about the workers who don't even know the basics-- there's also people with disability--

[double bell]

--who need help with moving around and getting to places or find these environments noisy and confusing. And even the advantaged people who have to deal with people committing suicide, which is harmful to every single adult. That's why counsellors for Lifeline need therapy. So involving it to children is-- oh, we're forcing them to do it also means they can't unionise. So they can't fight for better working conditions. They're forced to do it. Also, they're less likely to do it because they see adults as the superior being, because they're being given everything from the adult so they won't-- less likely to speak up against them.

And also, thirdly, they haven't worked anywhere else in the workforce before and they weren't taught what a workforce looks like, which means that they don't know if they're getting taken advantage of. But in a high school, they talk about that and then they send you to TAFE, where it's built for learning, where they have special rules. But we're just sending them to normal workforces who aren't built for this stuff. It's not going to work.

[continuous bell]

Thank you.


KYLE WU: Today I've seen this debate come down to 3 main issues-- the first one on the best job experience, the second one on freedom of choice and opportunity and cost. So now on to my first clash. We think that students aren't currently prepared in society. We think that when they enter high school and they start getting a job in Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9, they're very busy and they're not really trained in time management. They don't know how to organise their study alongside their job and that they're going to be very stressed when they have their education alongside a job in Year 9 because they don't know how to time management. They don't know how to prepare themselves to be ready.

We think that it's really crucial that we actually give them an experience in Year 6 when they're not super busy so that they can get a trial period and understand what it's like to have a job. And then when they move to Year 9, they're not going to be as stressed. And we think that this is a major benefit on our side of the house because that means students aren't going to be mentally impaired, as the opposition is claiming.

The opposition also claimed that it's too hard. We don't think that the jobs they're giving them is going to be very difficult. It's going to be something very simple like tidying or gardening, not like construction sort of jobs, which are also very dangerous. We think that students can cope with this and that students that are an 11-year-old definitely can do this. They probably tidy at home and they probably do gardening at home. We don't think they'll also need much teaching as well.

They also talked about how students are going to be mistreated. We think that students are actually going to be treated quite well. Because many community service providers are actually having a shortage of workers from COVID and all these sorts of issues and retiring. We think that they're going to be really keen on having some kids who can help out and do the tidying job so that the other volunteers can move on to more important jobs, which we are actually having a shortage of.

Also, we don't think that there's an incentive for them to treat kids unwell. We also think that it's also illegal to treat kids really badly. And we think that even if none of this is the case, we think kids do have the mental capacity to at least understand that it's not necessarily directed to them and they can cope with this.

They also talked about how nothing is going to be done. We don't actually think this is true. We think students are going to be paid, so that means they do have expectation to get work done in a good manner. We think students are also going to be really excited to be earning money. They're probably going to work really hard and try and impress the employer. We also think that 11-year-olds in Year 5 can work properly, as I previously stated. It's not too difficult. They can definitely tidy the playground and stuff.

Furthermore, they also talked about how some people already have jobs dedicated to doing gardening and stuff. We think that many companies and institutions are actually experiencing a shortage. We don't actually think that all of them do have necessarily people who do this. And even if they do, I'm sure that they're going to be willing to help benefit students and give them the job experience that they want.

They also explained that children wouldn't actually get work experience because they're going to be treated like a child. Well, this is clearly a contradiction.


They talked about previously how they're going to be treated really badly. However, now they're talking about how they're going to be treated as a child. We're not sure what the opposition is actually meaning here, whether they're actually going to be treated well or not well. We think that they're going to be treated fairly good, but not necessarily like a child where they don't get work experience.

They also talked about job experiences and how people need a degree to teach. First of all, we don't think it's going to be too hard to teach and that students probably already know how to tidy and do gardening. There probably isn't going to need to be a lot of teaching required.

We also think that students already-- we're trying to let them apply the stuff they've learned in schools necessarily. And furthermore, we think that we actually provide a lot of benefits to job experience, such as learning in a safe environment, gain time management skills, be independent. And they're going to be less scared and stressed of entering the workforce. Thus, we believe we provide the best job experience on our side of the house.

Now on to freedom of choice. So the opposition claims that students aren't going to get a voice.

[double bell]

First of all, we don't think that this necessarily occurs everywhere. Students have to go to school and school isn't seen as a danger, as they're saying workforce is. We think that actually, students are also going to want to go to work. They're not necessarily being forced. I'm pretty sure students are going to want to earn a salary and get paid. We don't think that they're necessarily going to hate this and think they're not getting a voice. Furthermore, we also think students actually want to get the experience so they don't need to experience like heavy stress when they grow up. Thus, we believe that we've also won this clash.

Finally, on opportunity cost, we think that the opportunity costs don't actually exist. It's just one hour in the afternoon. Students when they go into Year 9 actually get like full shifts on Saturday and Sunday. We don't think it's a waste of time. Furthermore, even if it is, we still think that it's really, really important and crucial students get the life skills that they actually need. And we think that there are many things which are crucial in life and mean an opportunity cost. And we still think that learning a job skill, which can benefit you more--

[continuous bell]

--in later life is really important. Thus, I'm proud to affirm. Thank you.


HALLE CONNORS: Hello, everyone. So today, I'm going to be talking about some of the main clashes in this debate. So this includes the community services-- are they too hard-- the professionals going to be teaching them, the workforce, the moral obligation. And I'm also just going to be clarifying a few things.

So firstly, I just want to clarify the stakeholders, which my first speaker did not get to finish. But there's also other students involved, like disability and behavioural students, but we know this is a bit too late to bring this up. But, yes, I just wanted to clarify that there are other stakeholders in this debate that they haven't really included into their model.

Now on to the topic of the professionals-- so how many professionals? So if this is going to be in a large space, NSW, that means a lot of community places. Because that means primary, Year 5, all the way up to high school, that's nearly 20-- a lot of students. So that means a lot of professionals needing to teach them.

And they also said that, oh, it's going to be easy to teach them. Then why do we have-- why do we send teachers to uni so they can get a qualification and to teach these kids? Because it is hard to teach students. It's not as simple as, oh, do this, do this. They need to go through it step by step. And not a lot of teaching is needed, so why do we need to do it at all? If it's something that is big and is going to make such a big change, then there should be a lot of teaching that is needed to do it.

So some have learning disabilities and have behavioural issues. So they might muck up. And then the professionals might not know how to sort this situation out.

Now on to-- the main thing of this is, is this going to make a difference and help them with understanding the workforce? So the opposition said, in the long term, they will understand the workforce. So we disagree. Because when you're a teenager, that is the time when you have the mental capacity to be learning this. This is when you can actually think about it and learn what to do.

As kids, we're, like, oh, OK, we do that, we do this. And then 10 minutes later, we forget what to do. So it's not always clear. And then they can learn what to do then, as teenagers. And so we think they're too young and they don't have the mental capacity to do this.

And it's-- and teenagers don't have to work. Teenagers are more brain available. Kids at this age don't really have this and kids like can't always be doing this. So they're not really going to understand the workforce. And if it is just a community service, then it's not going to make much difference when you're a manager of, maybe, Macca's later when you're a teenager.

And then, yes, now on to the community services, of how these are--


--going to be, maybe, too hard. So we think these community services-- I mean, RSPCA and RSPCA involve a lot of giving the water, helping, being careful with the cats and the animals. You have to actually be really careful about what you're doing. And sometimes students don't have that. At school, they can be quite aggressive and things like this. So we think it's very likely that this is going to happen when they're doing these community services.

Or maybe when they see someone come up to them and a sassy 12-year-old's going to be, like, yo, hey, $2? All right. They're not going to be, like, hey, they're not going to actually get the proper things to do that. And they're not really going to, maybe, listen to the professional telling them what to do. Because they're teenagers, they're kids and they should be allowed to do what they need to do at that age and not have to do this in the afternoon for one hour a week.

We also think there are alternatives. If they do get these community services, we think there should be more accessibility to it. Right now, there's not a lot of it.

[double bell]

And we do think it does teach some valuable lessons. So we think it's important that they do get to more accessibility of it. And they did say one to 2 hours isn't going to change everything. So it's not going to change much. They're not going to get all these morals, all these skills in those one to 2 hours a week either.

And just lastly on the moral obligation, the government also have a moral obligation to make sure they're not getting a job that they dislike, are forced to do and it will be, maybe, too hard for them to do. So lastly, for a comparison, in our world, vulnerable students and parents are not harmed and businesses don't lose good jobs and parents can get these instead. And in our world, kids have a voice and can volunteer and be willing. Though in their world, kids don't have a voice and they are forced to do this. With this, we can see that we can't be-- they're not actually giving one afternoon a week and that from the status quo, there can be other ways this can be improved.

[continuous bell]

Thank you. I'm very proud to negate.


ALLY PITT: Hi, everyone. My name is Ally. I'm representing the panel of adjudicators who were watching this debate. Usually we would give a piece of general feedback before we go on to explaining how we saw the debate. But overall, we thought this debate was really high quality. We don't really have any overall thoughts for the teams. We thought they both did really excellent jobs. I'm really happy to see it. So great work, guys. You should both be really proud of themselves. I think we should give another round of applause for both.


So the way this will work is, I'll basically explain how we saw the debate and how we came to our decision and then we'll let you know who we thought won at the very end. We thought there were 2 key issues that decided this debate-- firstly, the impact on students and, secondly, the impact on the organisations that they were working in.

So firstly, in terms of how it impacted students, we think this is probably where the vast majority of the debate lies. It's where both teams spend the most time making arguments. So we hear a couple of different ideas here. The first one that I want to flag at the very beginning is, we hear an argument from the affirmative team that has basically carried down their bench, that this is a government obligation to make sure students are best prepared for jobs when they get older.

We broadly thought this was unresponded to by the negative team and probably stood at the end of the debate. However, we kind of note as a panel that this argument relies on the affirmative team to prove that this actually does best prepare students for jobs. So it doesn't win the affirmative team any kind of ground on its own, but it means that they also have to then prove the second layer of it, that it does best help people to learn job skills.

So we hear a couple of different claims by each team under this issue then of whether or not it actually helps students. Firstly, what we hear from the negative team's first speaker is the claim that jobs are going to be overly strenuous. I think they pick on specific examples of things like working with the RSPCA and working with people like Lifeline that might be difficult.

We thought this was broadly responded to fairly well by the affirmative team, who said that this was probably going to be a scale of jobs. So kids who are particularly younger would be working jobs that were relatively easy for them. And then as they got older, they might do things that are a little bit more difficult, but still relatively easy for them as well. So we didn't think the negative team were able to gain a lot of ground by suggesting that these jobs might be over the top and much too difficult, even though we thought they were relatively good explanations of why, if they were too difficult, that could be a big harm on kids.

Here, we hear from the affirmative team that having these jobs is really good because it will cause kids to learn skills like time management. And they'll start to learn how to spend money and save it wisely and things like that. They essentially tell us that they'll learn these skills because kids actually might want to do these jobs because they'll want to earn money, they'll want to have a job and start feeling more independent.

I think we also hear on the flip side from the negative team that some kids might not want to do these jobs because they feel like they're being forced to do it and they feel like they don't have a voice in these situations. I think these were both reasonable claims as to what kids might want. And as a panel, we thought there probably were kids in each section who either would want to do these jobs or wouldn't want to learn these jobs. They'd probably get relatively different benefits. Because we did agree with the affirmative team that when kids did want to learn, they probably would learn some things from this. However, we were not convinced that when kids didn't want to learn that they would necessarily get a lot out of it.

We hear from the negative team here in response to this that they are not able to learn a lot of skills in these instances. And they give us, I think, 5 reasons why this might be the case. The first is that they seize upon some of the characterisation from the affirmative team that this would only be one hour a week so that the kind of things that kids could learn are reduced by the fact they're not spending a lot of time in these positions. The second thing we hear from the negative team is that the people who are teaching them are not professionals and so they won't be able to teach kids in a way that benefits them.

The third thing that we hear is because they're working in community organisations and not regular places of employment, these skills won't necessarily be useful for the future jobs that they do when they're older. We hear that they won't learn a lot because of the characterisation of the affirmative team that these jobs won't be strenuous and will be fairly easy. So they say that it's kind of unclear what sort of skills they would be learning that they didn't already have.

And finally, they tell us that kids won't be able to deal with the pressure of doing these jobs when they're younger, that it will take them more time to learn these skills comparatively. They say that this means that kids can just learn these things when they're older and they will pick it up quicker. And third, we hear of examples of where kids might learn these skills alternatively when they're older as well through things like TAFE. But we essentially hear that they'll be able to learn it faster when they learn it differently.

We hear one response to this from the affirmative team, who says that under the model the affirmative team gives, there will be professional teachers and they will be able to teach kids these skills. However, we were broadly convinced from the negative team that this was unlikely to be the case that was going to exist in this circumstance. Because the negative team does point out that in the world right now, there is shortage of teachers and people who are able to educate kids in this way, which we thought meant that it was probably the case that some people who would be teaching kids in this instance probably don't have as much experience teaching kids as their teachers in the classroom would.

And we thought this meant the affirmative team were able to point out that a lot of these skills that the affirmative team wanted them to learn might be quite difficult to actually transfer to kids in these instances because of the relative lack of time and the relative lack of experience and also the kids' own ability, being relatively young here as well.

We thought it was also important that the negative team did say that you could learn these skills later in their life and you can learn them faster as well then. And so while we were convinced at the end of this issue on students, that students may learn skills and they may be enthusiastic to work, we weren't sure that this applied to all students. But we also thought the negative team were able to point out that this wasn't something that was exclusive to having a job when you're in Year 5 and 6 and being older, but it was something that you could do later. And it wouldn't necessarily stress you out because you were able to learn these skills quicker than the alternative.

The negative team also explains in this issue that kids might have a bad experience when they're engaged in their job. We hear quite a good explanation from the third affirmative speaker about why jobs might have an incentive to treat kids well. So it's illegal to treat them poorly, but also they're going to be happy to have kids working there because it means they have extra helping hands and stuff like that.

However, I think we get a lot of really good reasons from the negative team as to why these ideas may not necessarily apply in all circumstances. So basically what we hear from the third negative speaker is that people who might not be professionals might not be able to deal with kids in certain situations where kids might react, perhaps, with worse behaviour than they're expecting. And because the negative team is able to prove that in a lot of cases these people won't be professionals, we thought this meant that there may be examples of people reacting poorly or not necessarily being able to treat kids in a way that helps them learn.

We also hear from the second negative speaker that perhaps in instances where things do go wrong that kids who don't have experience with a job before and who tend to respect adults might not know what's right and wrong, so won't necessarily be able to advocate for themselves in these situations. I think we didn't necessarily hear a response to these ideas from the negative team about how kids might react to situations in which they're not being treated well. And while we thought the affirmative team were able to prove that these weren't going to necessarily be common situations, we thought there were definitely some stakeholders the negative team were able to prove where this might be an issue with and we thought the kids wouldn't be able to deal with it successfully there.

So ultimately, at the end of this issue on kids, we were not necessarily convinced that this was an exclusive benefit that you could only get through having kids doing these jobs. But we were convinced by the negative team that some kids might actually feel less prepared for the jobs that they're doing because they don't find the experience to be particularly pleasant or one where it makes them more scared and more stressed out to be in that situation so they're less likely to learn.

The second issue of the debate then was how it affects the community organisations. We thought this issue was a lot less-- was a lot smaller. The affirmative team told us that it would be easier for community organisations because there would be more people there who are able to do more jobs. And it means it could free up other people who might be forced to do menial tasks in order to do other tasks that were more important.

We thought the negative team were able to respond in comparison that these kids might not necessarily be useful if it takes them a long time to learn certain things, but that also people would be forced to supervise them in these instances, which would mean they weren't necessarily able to do other jobs when kids were learning. They also tell us that there is a relatively high administration cost to having kids only being there for an hour, so they have to spend a lot of time signing in and out and stuff like that.

And so while we ultimately thought there could be a benefit of having more people in the office, we thought the negative team were able to undermine this benefit by pointing out that it would actually take a lot of energy to host kids in these instances. So ultimately, at the end of the debate, because we believe that the negative team were able to prove that kids were going to be less prepared for these jobs and because it was going to be hard on the organisations, we award this debate in a close but clear decision to the negative team, Illawarra South East.


REECE MILLS: Thank you for that. Now please welcome a representative from Northern Sydney to congratulate the teams.


ADITYA PAUL: Thank you for debating us. That was a really close debate and we enjoyed it all the way. So honestly, I think it was just really amazing and the topic and everything was pretty interesting. So thanks for debating with us.


REECE MILLS: Please welcome a member of the winning team to respond.


ANGEL KING: Congratulations for even making it this far. It's a very hard thing to do. Thank you so much for debating us. Thank you, coaches, for teaching us. Thank you so much for adjudicators for adjudicating us today. And thank you parents for coming. But most important of all, thank you, North Sydney, for debating us. You did awesome.


TONY DAVEY: First of all, first speaker, Olivia.


Their second speaker, Cynthia.


Their third speaker, Kyle.


Good job. And today's team advisor, Aditya.


And their coach, Daniel Judd.


Well done.

DANIEL JUDD: Thanks, mate. Cheers.

TONY DAVEY: Ladies and gentlemen, the 2023 runners up from Northern Sydney.


Welcome, first of all, their first speaker, Astrid.


Please welcome their second speaker, Oscar.


Congratulations to their third speaker, Halle.


And to the fourth speaker, Angel-- oh, no, It's my turn. Angel, woo!


Well done. And to Reece on all the other debates.


And to their coach, the Illawarra and South East coordinator, Cara Robinson.


Well done.

CARA ROBINSON: Thank you very much.

ANDY LASAITIS: And who wants the-- who'd like the trophy?

PHOTOGRAPHER: Squash in, everyone.


ANDY LASAITIS: There you go. Congratulations. There you go.

[applause, cheering]

End of transcript