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NSW Premier's Debating Challenge 2019 - Junior State Debating Championships final
JARED LI: I welcome you to the state final of the 2019 Junior State Debating Championship. This debate is between the Sydney region and the Western Sydney region. The affirmative team from Western Sydney as first speaker, Sajnoor Rana, second speaker, Kevin Lee, and third speaker, Jamima Jiffrey, and team advisor, Rachael Mibus.
The negative team from Sydney is first speaker, Alex Christensen, second speaker, Dani Villafana, and third speaker, Brendon Lambert, and team advisor, Tim Hanna. The adjudicators for this debate are Pat, Ellie, and Alex. Each week may speak for eight minutes. There will be one bell at six minutes, and two bells to eights minutes to indicate that speaker's times expired. A bell will be run continuously if a speaker exceeds the maximum time by more than one minute.
Finally, before we begin, please ensure all mobile phones are switched off. The topic of this debate is that we should ban parents from drinking around their children. Please, welcome to the first speaker of the affirmative to open the debate.
SAJNOOR RANA: OK, so this debate is centred around the idea that we should allow what is basically parental neglect, that we should allow it. And so in this debate, we as the affirmative will endeavour to explain to you the negative effects of the status quo and how our model is the change we all need.
So our model benefits children significantly. And throughout the debate, we aren't saying that drinking completely has to stop, but because we-- sorry-- but we are realising that it's pervasive in Australia, and binge drinking is a huge problem in Australian culture. And so this has extremely negative results for society in terms of the health and well-being for individuals. And so our model addresses all these issues.
So in the status quo, Australia is-- as I said before, has a pervasive drinking culture around how much people can drink and linking things to manlihood, and the amount you can drink, and binge drinking as well. And so this is backed by loads of statistical evidence which scientists have gathered around this nation and the fact that we have a huge drinking problem. And there's huge societal issues which come from this, which I'll talk about later.
Children see parents and others drinking and subconsciously take on these ideals and believe that it's normal. And this creates a systematic cycle, which is, in turn, not benefiting our society in any way. So our model for today is that parents drinking around their children will be monitored in public places and hefty fines will apply.
We understand that it will be hard to monitor, just like underage drinking when it occurs in the home or in private properties. But like underage drinking, we have to trust in the Australian public to understand the risks associated with it and trust that they'll make the right decisions, especially parents, that they'll make the right decisions to do what's best for their child.
So the majority of the Australian population, we believe, will be responsible and take on this, which is implemented by the government. And so the age that we've set is until-- so 16 and under. So after 16, parents can legally drink around their children.
And this links to how, currently, parents can legally allow their children to drink if they are supervising them. And because we believe, by this time, they have the mental capacity to do so and make their own decisions based on if their parents' drinking is a good or bad thing.
So as first speaker, I'll be talking about the moral obligation of parents and how this links to the overall Australian drinking culture. And my second will talk about how not implementing this model contradicts what children are learning in school and how this model helps us overall in society and has multiple benefits.
So onto my points about moral obligation and the Australian drinking culture. So the most important question that we need to ask ourselves is, why does moral obligation fall onto the parents? So why is it their responsibility to look after their children?
So it's a moral obligation of a parent to ensure the safety and health of their children. So in this case, it means not encouraging drinking or making them think it's all right, even if it's subconsciously. So not if you're just like telling them, drinking is good, but also the fact that, if you're doing it around them, it subconsciously affects what they're thinking.
So as I said before, subconsciously links to-- even if young children are seeing their parents drink from a young age and the fact that they're enjoying doing this puts these ideas in their head and affects the way that they interact with alcohol in general throughout the rest of their lives.
So why is this true? So this is true because, overall, it's the role of the parents to ensure the health of their child. It's ingrained into society that the role of parents is to take care of their children, and that this is something they should be doing. That's what parents are for.
And even if they aren't binge drinking, or addicted to drinking, or have huge drinking problems, the status quo is still bad for a child. So imagine a young kid, a five-year-old, who's still learning about the world, being exposed to a parent drinking, even if it's just once a day. Because they trust their parents, they will be influenced by it and have an idea that drinking is OK. And this is an idea and mentality that will stick with them.
So this influences decisions later on in their life, as I said before, even if it's subconsciously. Because as long as there is alcohol in the picture, a five-year-old isn't going to see how much their parents are drinking. They're just going to see, oh, my parents are drinking, and so, therefore, it must be good. And so this creates a cycle which has multiple negative effects, which my second will talk about more.
So trusting parents in general that will create a mindset that drinking is OK from a young age, which shows how parents have a moral obligation to do the right thing and prevent this cycle from continuing. So therefore, regardless of general regulation, education, and other forms of informing the children, because the parents are so influential, a ban is required to ensure government responsibility is maintained, because parents are so important in this cycle, and we believe other factors won't make much of a difference.
So why can't children consent to being exposed to this is another question we have to ask ourselves in this debate. So there's three main measures of consent. So firstly, the not--
So regardless of if children are taught if drinking is good or bad, parents and Australian culture in general and the people who surround them are telling them it's good. And they will be more likely to believe this as opposed to other things which they learn in school, for example, as my second will also talk about.
Secondly, children don't have the mental capacity, especially young children, to understand these issues, and what it means for them, and their health, and later on in life. So they're too young to understand these issues. And therefore, education at a young age won't work, and that's why our model needs to be implemented.
Finally, cohesion and pressure is a huge factor in this, because as much as parents influence the children later on in life at an older age, peer pressure and the Australian culture begins to take its toll. And on top of the fact that they've already seen their parents drinking once or twice a day, this creates an unhealthy drinking habit and influences them to adopt unhealthy drinking habits.
So for example, the Australian drinking culture, that outlines how good it is to drink. So in Australia, there is a pervasive culture that revolves around binge drinking. This has been shown throughout our history as a country and particularly relevant today.
So drinking particularly around children is largely considered almost acceptable by society and it's the norm. And I'll be giving a few examples. So firstly sporting and drinking culture is largely entwined. So drinking at games is an actual issue that occurs. So what actually happens sometimes is parents letting their kids drink with them at games in public.
So under our model, this won't be able to happen. So if a dad and his son are watching a footy game, and he goes, here, do you want a sip of beer, that can't happen, because it will be monitored under this model.
So another example is that there's an aspect to drinking, as we have already shown to you, that appears in the Indigenous Australian community. So there are much higher mortality rates specifically caused by large amounts of alcohol, which is often passed down from parents to children.
And so while we know that our model won't fix all the problems with this issue, it is still something that needs immediate action, and we believe our model will stop this cycle of this information being passed through and the fact that thinking drinking is good. So if the status quo continues, this systematic issue will never be resolved and because of all the issues I've just outlined. Thank you.
ALEX GARMAN: In a society where we have the intrinsic right to bodily autonomy, we find that violating this on any level for any reason sets an extremely harmful precedent. And in doing so, denies parents not only the right to drink alcohol, but the opportunity to teach their children healthy drinking habits. And in doing so, simultaneously stigmatises and idealises the issue of alcohol.
Before I begin my team's case, I'd like to go over a few issues of rebuttal. So far, the opposition has given us a sort of conflicting characterization of how drinking occurs in households currently and what a drinking culture in Australia looks like currently.
So far, they've told us how binge drinking is very pervasive in Australian societies. And we do agree to an extent, but we find that, for the majority of time, binge drinking does not occur in Australian's homes, because, to a level, children hold their own parents accountable. Because parents are fully aware that, if they drink too much around their children, they won't be able to fully take care of them, which the opposition has conceded to an extent already in that they've said that parents are responsible and, therefore, will follow their model.
And therefore, we find it conflicting that they simultaneously think that parents aren't able to set a good example for their children, but will still somehow be able to follow the model that they've set. So they've given us a few things on how that drinking around children amounts to neglect and how any amount of alcohol, regardless of how much, somehow, normalises to children the idea that drinking at a very young age is OK.
We find this extremely untrue, because when parents drank around their children, we find that, most of the time, they drink in very responsible amounts. And the opposition has already given us this characterization of parents being mostly responsible. And we think that this actually allows children to see what responsible and healthy drinking looks like, which we find to be very important, because how else are they going to learn these healthy habits?
We think that, even when education occurs in schools, being told to drink in moderate amounts at school and not seeing your parents actually drink in these moderate amounts are completely different things. And we think it's much more important to see it actually in practise.
They've spoken a lot on a binge drinking culture as well. And we've already established why binge drinking does not really occur in homes. But we actually think the opposition is more likely to exacerbate this issue, because we think one of the massive reasons that binge drinking occurs is because children are denied the right to drink up until 18.
It means that the second that they get that right, they really want to exercise it to their fullest. And that is why we see children going to schoolies and that kind of thing where they consume alcohol to excess. We think that when we introduce alcohol much more moderately or we have a much more relaxed attitude to alcohol, it means that children also have the same relaxed attitude to alcohol, and they don't see it as this big thing that they must do the second they turn 18, or even before it, as we see in a lot of cases of kids doing underage drinking.
So therefore, we also think, on the issue of parents themselves, as we've already discussed, parents are often held accountable by others. Parents are actually probably more likely to binge drink if they are not able to drink or around children anymore, because it means they now must actively hide their drinking from these kids.
And a person who is drinking by themselves does not have that same accountability and is therefore more likely to drink to excess, as they don't have someone else to really moderate them. And they also are likely to drink less and, therefore, they want to make the most of the opportunity they do have to drink.
So ultimately, we think that the opposition's simultaneously clashing characterisations of parents being both responsible and irresponsible when it comes to drinking don't really stand up. So moving on to my substantive, we think, ultimately, we would not support this model, as we find it prevents parents from setting good examples for their children and denying them the opportunity to see practical education in the area of drinking.
And we think that, when parents are more relaxed around alcohol, this just creates a more healthy attitude towards it, as we see in practise in many European countries, such as, say, France where parents have more of a relaxed idea of introducing alcohol to children. And therefore, you see many fewer cases of children then going out and binge drinking the second they turn 18.
So I will, as first speaker, discussing why parents are still entitled to their fundamental right of bodily autonomy, and how the affirmative damages social attitudes towards drinking. And my second speaker will be discussing how this prevents children from learning healthy habits towards drinking and increases rebellion in kids, which, ultimately, leads to issues of binge drinking.
So on the principle of bodily autonomy, this is essentially that you have the fundamental right to do whatever you want with your body, so long as you are not violating someone else's rights to bodily autonomy. We find this still stands in this debate, because despite what the opposition might claim about third party harms, the vast majority of the time, parents drank very responsibly.
And therefore, we find it is not fair to any parents to take away their entire right to drink in front of their children based on the scarce actions of a few alcoholic parents that set bad examples. We think that the opposition extremely infringes on this right and sets a very poor precedent of when the government does and does not step in, as we find it is only justified for the government to step in and infringe on this right when they have proven a massive harm towards the children, which they have very much not.
So moving on to my second point of how it damages social attitudes towards alcohol in our country. We find immediately in bringing in this model, you immediately characterise drinking as something inherently shameful or harmful. Parents will still continue to drink undoubtedly, as it's a habit they've been practicing since they were much younger. And children are still going to know that their parents are drinking, because children are not as dumb as they are often made out to be.
So we find that when both parents are having to actively hide their drinking from their children. That makes them feel very ashamed of the habit, because the government is characterising it as something that must be hidden. And children also then feel like their parents are doing something bad or shameful, because why else would they be having to hide it from them?
And we think shame regarding drinking is extremely harmful on several levels. We think that any amount of shame around a natural human behaviour creates a very unhealthy attitudes towards it. We see this in the issue of, say, abstinence-only sex education where the shame around sex and sex education prevents people from actually being educated fully on it and means people engage in that behaviour in a completely unhealthy ways.
So we don't think preventing people from fully learning about a behaviour is ever going to be effective. We think this also has the tendency to exacerbate pre-existing issues of shame around alcoholism, particularly. We find that while vast majority of parents are completely responsible drinkers and, therefore, should not be made to hide that, the small percentage of alcoholic parents who do, in some ways, set a bad example for their children are many more high functioning alcoholics already hide that from their families, because they themselves view it as something shameful.
But now they have this added burden of knowing that they must hide it, because the government is telling them to. And we think this very much prevents them from seeking any kind of meaningful help, which is very important in addressing underlying issues of alcoholism.
And we think, secondly, that existing alcoholics currently don't hide this from their families or act badly around to their families were never going to follow the opposition's ban to begin with. And this means that the only existing alcohol models will be those who are drinking to excess. And you will no longer have that comparison of, say, one parent being extremely alcoholic and others drinking it in moderation, and that being able to show you a little bit of what can occur with alcohol and why this is bad.
When you only have one role model, we find this to be extremely harmful to the children of that person. And so we find that this-- we also have the issue of backlash in that people are made to feel shameful around it and feel that the government is infringing on this right. And for those reasons, that parents are more likely to not listen to that ban to begin with, because they've had this right for so long and they feel the government is being unjust. So we think, ultimately, this is extremely harmful, and that is why we are proud to educate.
KEVIN LEE: Ladies and gentlemen, today, what we believe that this debate comes down to a clash between the idea of the negative's principle of the rights of parents' bodily autonomy and then our idea of moral obligation. So before I begin my team's substantive, I will rebut a few ideas that negative tell us.
So the principle idea was the idea that every parent should have access to bodily autonomy, as long as they consent they should be able to consume alcohol in front of their children assess these risks. First, we would like to say, at first affirmative, we told you guys that parents must have a moral obligation to look after their children. And we heard a response from [inaudible] later.
But secondly, we told you specifically that children could not consent to this. They lack the mental capacity, and that children could not do anything response. And we heard no response from this at first affirmative, which means it's still standing.
Furthermore, we would like to say that we heard the response to our mechanism at first upon the idea the mechanism, that children will be subconsciously affected if they see their parents drinking every day. Even a glass of wine every day, kids will grow up every day thinking that alcohol is acceptable.
And so we heard a response from this first negative, the idea that parents were actually setting a good example by drinking in front of the children, the example where they were showing us how to drink healthily in the world. We would like to disagree with this on a few levels.
So the first thing, they refused to respond to the key stakeholders we identified at fist affirmative. First, the idea that children will become more relaxed. But this relaxedness will also work another way, because they know it's against the law for them to drink when they're under 18.
But they have been given a drink when they're 10 by their father at an AFL match. And we believe this is unacceptable. They will think alcohol is lax. Alcohol something they can abuse. Alcohol something they can consume in excessive amounts. And this is not something we will enforce.
But even if this is true, we are focusing on key stakeholders, for example, the young and, most importantly, the Indigenous people. We are not saying our model is a perfect fix. But the Indigenous people are at so much stake. The cycle of our mechanism is clearly shown in Indigenous population, because alcohol abuse is shown in every single generation. It continues in every single generation regardless, because no one is able to break the fact that parents are binge drinking and abusing their children.
And this is something we would rather have the benefits of and the influence, as we speak later, rather than the few small benefits that came from the negative's case. Furthermore, we heard the idea of the first substance of the affirmative, the idea that it prevents parents we're providing a good example.
Again, first, they haven't dealt with the minorities, which means this remains standing. And second, likely, as I'll say later, it's going to go against the education, because the education is trying to be the one subconscious idea. But their parents are feeding them the other. And as I explain later in my mechanism, the children are more likely to trust their parents over the education they're receiving.
Finally, at second substantive, we had the general idea that social attitudes would be damaged and that parents would be ashamed. Don't we want parents to be ashamed? We are saying that parents are neglecting their children by exposing the harm.
We're saying that parents have the moral obligation to be able to realise, OK, drinking in front of my children means there's a high chance or even a chance that they grow up in a society where they might abuse alcohol on top of pre-existing social factors that exist, pre-existing social factors which would likely make them binge drink, such as the need to flex in front of the friends that they can chug a beer, or an entire people in one go, the fact that they can drink more than they can, the fact that they're not a lightweight.
We believe that these parental subconscious ideas on top of these social pressures will lead to a society where the cycle of our mechanisms, which [inaudible] no response, will be so prevalent that the benefits you gave from the negative's bodily autonomy are non-existent.
So I will now go on my substantive. So we heard at first the idea of the principle of debate and the moral obligation. So I will go into the actual harms we see. So the first being that it contradicts what children are learning in school. So in our current status quo, we've got that children are receiving a vast amount of education regarding things that we consider harms of society.
They're told alcohol is bad, smoking is bad, and such things. Drink driving, you should avoid it. And this is something that is blatantly, say, uprooted by what we see in the status quo right now. So imagine you've got a 10-year-old child. They go to school, and they hear a seminar from a guy from the Thomas Kelly Foundation that perhaps that alcohol is bad, and you should drink only small amounts of it, and you should always drink in control.
And then they go back home and see their parents drinking alcohol every single day, even in small amounts. And we believe that the subconscious effect of this far overwhelms what their education can do. So the education is trying to tell them subconsciously, as they grow, alcohol is not something you should not drink in excess.
But if they see their parents every single day drinking even one glass of red wine, one beer bottle, and, occasionally, at parties, drinking more than this, we believe the subconscious effect is so much more damaging. They will grow up thinking, it's OK for me to drink excessively, because my parents did it. And my parents clearly love me.
As was shown at first, parents have a moral obligation and should do things which are in the inherent kid's best interests. And that is what kids are brought up to believe. So when they see their parents drinking alcohol after they've been told that alcohol is bad for you, who are they going to trust? Are they going to trust a random stranger from the Thomas Kelly Foundation who's talk to them for one hour, or are they going to trust their parents who has guided them through 10 years, giving them good decisions?
It's clearly going to be the parents. And this means that they will grow up thinking alcohol is something that is, say, relaxed, this thing which they can enjoy, and the thing which they can drink a lot of and be seen as an acceptable ideology. And this is something we want to avoid.
The main harm which comes from this, again, is the harm to education. So now that I've gone through the mechanism, I'll show you why it's bad for education. So if they trust their parents more over their education system, not only do they lose faith in the education system, because they're like, well, my parents love me, so they won't tell me things which are wrong. And if they tell me-- if they offer me a drink at 10 years old, then clearly a drink clearly isn't as bad as what the Thomas Kelly Foundation are shaping it out to be.
But not only this, they will begin to enjoy alcohol and abuse it a bit as well. And we're not saying this will occur everywhere. We are not saying that every single person is going to [inaudible]. But especially in at risk stakeholders, in those Indigenous communities, in those say slightly less SES communities which have higher rates of alcohol abuse, we believe that the effects of our model in preventing kids from seeing this until they are older, until they are able to understand the risks of alcohol, and until they are able to realise and have the mental capacity to deal with it, that the negative's model does not actually deal with children's ability to comprehend with this.
So essentially, what our model does from this first point, our model prevents children's education from being contradicted. It means that children are not only being told that the education that alcohol should only be consumed in small amounts and should not be consumed at young ages and that's bad for you.
But they'll see their parents being good examples, that parents will not drink in front of them. And by drinking not in front of them, that is something we want to see. Our first negative, we also heard that-- at first negative, we kind of heard the idea that our model will not work because of the idea that parents would not be able to binge drink, and that this could mean that their drinking habits are affected or they will not be able to refrain.
We would like to disagree with this. We're not asking for anything. We're asking that the parents put their children away in their room before they drink. We're asking, if you want to have a drink with your friends, don't do it at the house, do it at the pub. It's not something we're asking hundreds and thousands of dollars of funding into. We're just asking for one small favour.
Because of this, we believe that our model solves a problem that children's educations are being contradicted in the status quo. Now on to the second idea of the action benefits our model has. So our model has many benefits currently. One of them is mental benefits. So children will now grow up in a society where they are still exposed to the idea that alcohol is OK, because they've been told that and they see it. They probably can assume that their parents are drinking small amounts. But they're never directly exposed to it.
And this means that they are more likely to drink more responsibly as they grow older and pass this effect onto their children. And even if we assume, at the bare minimum, the worst case scenario that there's a parent drinking once a day, we believe that a three-year-old seeing their parent drank once a day and hearing them say, honey, pass me a wine, because I want to wind down after work, we believe this effect actually has a negative impact upon a child, a three-year-old child, who will hear this multiple times over their life. They'll hear it for the next 13 years.
And by the time they're at legal age, they'll think, OK, I will drink wine to relax. I will drink alcohol to relax. And this isn't something we want to enforce, because, as I say now, this has massive impacts upon our health and economy.
So alcohol has an immense amount of impacts upon a person's health. It leads to liver cancer and other such cancers. And these cancers are having a massive strain upon our healthcare system, because they mean more patients are being enlisted for things that they just failed to consent to properly.
And we want to prevent this. We want our healthcare system to be overwhelmless. And because they're showing you that parents have a moral obligation, that this moral obligation stands over bodily autonomy. But not only this, our model still solves the problem of that education is being currently overturned in the status quo. We are proud to affirm.
DANIELLE VILLAFANA: So what I'd like to start with is that the affirmative have come up here and come out with a gross mischaracterization of what alcohol looks like in our society, but also in our households. Yes, we agree that alcoholism is bad, but we don't believe that alcohol is inherently bad. And we think, in fact, anything, they are sending this message that alcohol is intrinsically terrible, which means people are going to go and become alcoholics. And we don't think that is in any way helpful or beneficial.
So first of all, they've said that children who grow up without being exposed to alcohol will drink more healthily. They haven't actually proved a mechanism as to why this is true other than the fact that children model what their parents do. And later on in my speech, I'll prove why this isn't true.
But the fact of the matter is that many children grow up in households without drugs, for example, but they still go on to do drugs. And what that means is that, because there is so much stigma, they never get help. They die of an overdose. And I don't see why we would be wanting to create a further stigma to alcoholism that we do have with drugs, and create bigger problems, which lead to more mortality rates and is worse as a whole.
Furthermore, they said that parents drinking in front of their children leads to them growing up in an alcohol-abusing society. We'd like to point out the children in the status quo already grow up in a society that does abuse alcohol. But it is the role of the parent to teach these children not to abuse alcohol. And the way to do this isn't by just completely banning it, because complete bans don't work, as I will continue to prove.
It is ridiculous to assume that children in households without alcohol would be any different. They will still drink. They'll hide it even more because of the stigma. And they'll drink to an excess, because they are never taught moderation and they are never taught actual healthy habits and relationships with alcohol. Because it's completely ridiculous to assert that these kids aren't going to see alcohol, therefore, are never going to drink alcohol.
Furthermore, most of their substantive in their second speaker was that it contradicts what they are learning in school. So I have three main responses to this. First of all, their case there is contingent on the fact that alcohol is inherently bad and that we are taught this in schools.
In schools, we're not taught that alcohol in itself is inherently bad. This is true for three reasons. First of all, in the syllabus, we are literally taught safe, and healthy, and responsible habits, because our teachers know that we aren't just going to not do something because they said we shouldn't do it. We see this in many cases. Not only alcohol, but also in drugs, but also in abstinence, which is why it's unfair to claim that this is happening, also because it's literally not, if you look at the syllabus.
Furthermore, they are taught to drink alcohol in safer situations, and that this should be encouraged the first time they have alcohol to really just be in the household, and not to be at some random party where you're more likely to get hurt or get blackout drunk, which is bad for you.
But also, even if it were true, firstly, kids gain more from the lived experiences around them and onto their house. They take away the opportunity for actual good role models who consume alcohol in moderation and have a healthy relationship with alcohol.
But furthermore, in cases where the household is abusive, most kids can recognise when they are in an abusive household, because they will experience and feel that abuse. And we don't think they're going to have some sudden epiphany that, oh, my parent being drunk all the time is actually abuse, because they see it in school. They see it in a class.
But furthermore, kids who are in abusive households are the least likely to be paying attention and to be engaged in these classes in the first place. And we see this, because it's been consistently proven by the relationship between the cycle of poverty, and abuse, and alcohol abuse, which is why we actually do need more healthy role models that the children will see through maybe not necessarily their parents-- though, that is a majority-- but also their friends' parents, also in wider society.
Furthermore, they bought up the big example of what's happening in Indigenous communities. And we do agree, this is a massive problem that needs to be addressed. But firstly, in all situations, in every single community, child abuse is illegal. These parents still do child abuse knowing it is illegal. So we don't see why they would start suddenly following these laws.
If you are going to abuse your child, you're not going to start following some random nanny state law that says you should stop drinking alcohol completely, because you're probably-- oh my gosh-- an alcoholic. Furthermore, Indigenous communities have these issues with alcohol is not necessarily due to what's happening in the household, but due to historical and perpetuated cycles of abuse of discrimination. And it's unfair to say that these issues are caused solely by alcohol.
It's caused by centuries, decades of government oppression and discrimination. Indigenous communities are unlikely to accept the decisions of the government even more so than the regular population, which is why I don't think they're an actual fair examples to be used in this debate.
Now, onto my substantive. Under their health, it actually increases rebellion in kids, which means that it's more likely for them to abuse alcohol in the future. So kids are more likely to rebel from their parents when something is outright banned. We see this in the fact that children just have a tendency to rebel from their parents.
For example, there's a prevalence of illicit drugs, such as weed. A lot of teenagers take weed and they do drugs, despite the fact that their parents say they shouldn't do it. I think it's fair enough to say most parents say, you should not do drugs. But still, a lot of kids do drugs.
And this is because it's a way to do things that their parents don't endorse, which teenagers often like doing because it's a way to be separate from their parents. And this is going to continue to happen under their side of the house.
Furthermore, these teenagers, as the negative has already conceded, are likely to be susceptible to peer pressure, because their friends may think it's cool to drink alcohol and because this is just a big part of Australian culture. This is actually especially harmful on their side of the house, because they'll develop unhealthy drinking habits, because they have never had the opportunity to see moderate and healthy relationships with alcohol.
So the affirmative has claimed that they will never actually be directly exposed to alcohol if it's not in the household. This is completely untrue, because the alternative is that they see alcohol by people who aren't role models, for example, through friends, through partying, through media and entertainment.
And this is worse, because they only see the cool sides of drinking that are very harmful, that are idealised. And they will never get a holistic view of alcohol. And then in our house, they actually do get this realistic view and they develop healthier relationships with alcohol, because-- and we know this is true-- because, as they've conceded, kids subconsciously model the ideals and habits of their parents.
Kids see their parents doing things-- for example, just generally being healthy and exercising-- and they're more likely to be healthy and exercising. But the same doesn't actually apply to parents who abuse alcohol and all alcoholics, because kids see the negative repercussions of this that directly harm them in abusive and violent alcohol. And they are able to recognise this long before they are 16, as they put in their model.
But even so, in a normal society where alcohol can be consumed in the household and just in general in front of children, they are able to see and model healthy habits from people other than their parents directly, for example, their friends' parents. And they can comparatively see that what is happening in their household is bad and that they should not perpetuate this cycle.
And now under their under their house and in their model, they're no longer seeing any good or moderate habits. So the harms that you've stated are especially true, because majority of parents have a healthy relationship with alcohol. And these parents, who are good parents, they are good citizens, are the ones that are going to be impacted by these laws.
Because those alcoholics who are incredibly abusive and bad have no incentive or no legitimate reason to follow these laws, because they're alcoholics. But also, as they conceded, this is something that is incredibly hard to actually monitor and enforce.
And also that both sides of the house can actually just increase education and promote better ways of modelling good relationships with alcohol, not necessarily in the household. And so this actually benefits majority of kids, because majority of parents are good parents, do follow laws, which is why we shouldn't just ban parents consuming alcohol in front of their children. Thank you.
JAMIMA JIFFREY: Negative came out today and made it seem like parents were the most important stakeholder in this debate. They said that, through our model, parents would not be held accountable for their drinking problems, that binge drinking, ultimately, won't be solved, which is not something that we've ever been arguing.
But ultimately, that parents are essentially important to this debate. And this debate-- for us, at least-- is focused on why children are important and why children need not be brought into this pervasive cycle of alcohol and a binge drinking. That was more important to us on any level than any harms that would come to parents potentially.
So I will be addressing three issues in this debate. Firstly, is the status quo enough? Secondly, are we principally justified? So specifically, consent of children versus like bodily autonomy of parents. And thirdly, what were the implications of our model?
So on this first issue of is the status quo enough, we told you, at first, that , A, there was a pervasive cycle in Australia, that binge drinking in Australia was a major problem for specific groups of people, but in general in Australia as well, that binge drinking was unhealthy.
Secondly, that parents have a moral obligation simply because, in our society, it's basically accepted that parents take care of their children and they have that inherent role. And thirdly, that children don't consent. And specifically, on those last two, on the fact that Australia has a pervasive cycle and that, secondly, children don't consent, we heard minimal response from the opposition.
At second, however, they did say that where starting that, somehow, not seeing alcohol equals better like moderation in general. And what we want to stress here is that that's not what we're saying. What we're saying is, currently, what's happening in the status quo is that you have a system of education that's sufficient-- and I'm going to explain why in a second.
But then you also have children from when they're 0 to five, especially-- sorry, 0 to 10 especially, seeing their parents drinking every day. And those two things contradict each other on a major level. And therefore, you can't reap the benefits of your education, because you're more likely to trust your parents, as we said at second.
So we're not saying that not seeing alcohol is going to create better alcohol examples. We're saying that not seeing unhealthy alcohol examples of unhealthy alcoholic lifestyles, that they conceded at second exist in Australian culture, equals that those existing things in the status quo, such as education, are more prevalent and are probably going to be understood by children more.
And that's what we've been saying down the bench the opposition has just completely disregarded. They said also that role models in society are important to be found after analysis on why Australian culture doesn't have good role models.
But further than that, they literally said themselves that parents do have some moral obligation by not responding to that at first neg. So because parents have that moral obligation, regardless of whether there are actual good role models for healthy drinking in society, you're going to take your parent's word for that first. And that's why this intrinsic value is so important to establish from a young age through parents.
And so on that issue of already existing education, we only heard a practical response. We never heard that bodily autonomy in parents somehow related to the fact that education wasn't good enough. And we thought that that was a harm on their side.
They said that schools-- so they said that schools don't just-- they don't teach appropriately enough. And so firstly, they do-- there's a whole PE section, especially in year 10, about safer celebrations and how to drink that's part of the syllabus. So them saying it's not is just factually incorrect. That's part of the syllabus.
But in general, throughout PE, it's taught that by-- so through PE, we're taught through the syllabus that binge drinking and just drinking in general is something that needs to be maintained in a healthy way. The reason that doesn't work is, obviously, because parents have unhealthy cultures to begin with.
And so most likely, if you found a child who had healthy parents that were drinking and then got education-- and then got the proper education that they would understand that being drinking and drinking in general wasn't something that they wanted to get themselves into.
But if you had someone that had their parents consistently drinking around them, they were probably going to get the same harms to them when they were older. They used the example of sex education. They compared like parents' drinking in front of their children to sex education in the sense that not drinking in front of children equals abstinence of sex. Teachers don't drink in front of children for alcohol education. Neither should parents.
They said that people learn through experience. And just look at the status quo right now. Look at the Indigenous community. And I understand that there are oppression and government examples within that too. But look at the sporting culture in Australia. There is no government oppression to sport. But still, there is a big sport drinking culture that is a bad thing that's happening. And that's perpetuated into younger generations as well.
So on neg, regardless of whether-- we obviously have benefits on our side of the house, but they're not breaking the cycle in any way. And that's a problem. So at the end of that, the status quo is obviously not enough. Because even though we have such big measures of education and stuff like that, they're literally not addressing any issues on their side of the house.
They're sticking with the status quo, and this topic exists for a reason. That's because, through generations, there is a problem. And so, ultimately, the status quo simply wasn't enough for us.
Second issue shortly is, are we principally justified? We told you that we have a moral obligation that parents are trusted by children. And they've backed this up with bodily autonomy.
As I said in my intro, because of the detailed analysis we gave you at first about consent, about how, even if they have the knowledge, it's not very useful when they have their parents, that they don't have the mental capacity to understand this from a young age, and that there's coercion from society in general as well, that there was a harm to children that was so great, that we were allowed to take bodily autonomy from their parents away, especially when that bodily autonomy was harming those parents in the first place that they alcoholics. And that's what we were trying to stop as well.
And so ultimately, we were principally justified, but we don't think this is a big issue in this debate, as much as the fact that the status quo simply wasn't enough. So third issue really quickly, implications. So next argument here was that, firstly, the people, I guess, left would be the people-- that were following this would be the people that live healthy lives.
We thought that, first, just because of the illegality of it, and when you look at examples of underage drinking, as much as there are people who underage drink, most of society doesn't, simply because it is illegal, regardless of issues within that. But the fact that some people still did was also a problem.
The second thing there was that binge drinking parents would not be solved. And again, we were not arguing that. But we were complaining that-- sorry-- we could claim in this debate that children were not going to take that step into becoming alcoholics or into becoming people with unhealthy binge drinking habits and unhealthy drinking habits.
And further and more importantly, even if these were the only people left, we still think that that was a big harm, because the mental capacity of the children were not great enough to understand the harms that were involved. And that was a bigger issue than simply who was left to understand that.
They said that when we-- so they said this thing about a healthy lifestyle and how that was shown. And we've shown you how Australia, A, does not have a good binge drinking culture. But then when you get into an adolescent, and you go to things like schoolies, you go to these different events that are bad-- you go to because of peer pressure, because of that toxic mindset in Australia that being a lightweight is bad, and that the more you can drink, the better you are, that argument that there was a healthy lifestyle in Australia perpetuated by most parents was simply untrue.
And more importantly, as I've stressed in my entire speech and as we stressed down the bench, that impacts of education health don't exist in the status quo, simply because of these unhealthy mechanisms-- unhealthy system in parents.
And ultimately, just a small point is that children, especially young children, if they heard their teacher saying-- if they told their teacher this-- if they were told, your parents aren't supposed to be drinking, especially primary school kids could probably would rat their parents out. And so practical harms on our side of the bit kind of don't exist, just because we're talking about stuff, a young majority of people.
So ultimately, is the status quo enough? Absolutely not, because measures that are in place simply don't work, because parents aren't able to-- parents ruin the benefits from that. The implication-- and that we were principally justified ultimately, and that that was more important than any harm that could exist on our side of the house. And that is why we are so, so proud to affirm. Thank you.
BRENDON LAMBERT: All right, so we thought that this debate came down to three main categories. The first of which is what is better for kids. And then the second one is what is better for parents. And then the third one is what is better for the wider society.
So first, I'd just like to play something out. The opposition said that we were focusing as if the biggest stakeholder in this debate were parents. But we agree that the biggest stakeholder in this debate is by far the children. The reason that we bring up the parents is because the parents' actions both sides very directly impact the way that children are going to act in the future. So the disagreement is really how parents shape the impacts of the children.
So the opposition said first that children don't consent to their parents drinking. However, the issue with this is that children do not have the capacity to consent to almost anything. They don't have the capacity to consent to the fact that they have to eat their veggies before they eat the rest of the tasty part of the dinner or that they don't get for desserts.
The truth is that children are not able to consent to everything, and parents need to make some choices for kids. So this isn't really an issue of parents not consenting, provided that parents still enforce healthy habits about drinking in moderation, which we believe it is clear that, in the vast majority of cases, that parents will actually drink in moderation.
So they said that young kids see alcohol as bad in school, however, parents drank daily. However, school teaches that alcohol is inherently bad, no one should ever touch alcohol. Because just like with abstinence education, it doesn't work.
We know that with abstinence education, if that is what is taught, that teen pregnancy rates increase, which is why, in schools, we don't teach abstinence, but we teach a diverse range of sex education tools to teach kids.
And so the same thing happens with alcohol where we teach kids, hey, alcohol probably isn't great, but we know that a lot of you guys are going to be drinking it. So what is important is that you drink this in moderation. And then kids go home and then the opposition said that, a lot of the time, parents will be drinking like one glass of wine at night.
And we think that this is actually beneficial, because it shows these parents can still come home and have maybe a glass of wine at night. But it doesn't actually harm those parents, because the parents are still functional. They're still going to work. They're still raising their kids and doing a great job at that.
So we really do not feel like it is harmful that kids that parents are drinking alcohol in moderation. And rather, that schools and parents, by and large, are agreeing in getting kids for the idea that, under the status quo, drinking in moderation is what is important.
And then they also never addressed the stigma and shame and how about this impacts kids. If kids know that they're not allowed to see their parents drinking, which by the time they're 14, 15, they will know this, they'll know that there will be a massive stigma around alcohol.
That means that parents are going to go and hide in their room and drink alcohol, and that makes a massive stigma around it. So that means that kids won't speak about alcohol to their parents if they want to try a first drink when they are 16. Instead, they'll go to their peers and talk about it to them.
So then, you've got issues with peer pressure and kids drinking way, way too much. So we feel like the opposition's model is actually far, far more harmful to children, because they don't have that safety net and that support of parents, because it's stigmatised, and then parents and kids can't actually talk to each other about it.
And then I'd like to point out the opposition's jump between the fact that there are parents that are alcoholics and abusive, and then the idea that they would stop drinking around kids, which is a jump they made at their first, second, and third speakers.
So we'd just like to point out that what the opposition's model does is it only polices if people are actually drinking in public. So parents can just not drink in public, because there will be hefty fines because of that. And they said that they're going to trust that most parents will not drink in private.
We agree that maybe most parents probably won't just drink their that home, because the type of parents who won't be drinking at home are the ones who already drink casually-- oh, sorry-- who drink in moderation and who are already modelling healthy habits for children.
And so these are the ones where now there'll be none of these positive role models for kids. And instead, they'll still be the alcoholics who they're already abusing the kids, they're already breaking the law. So they're not going to use, again, this nanny state law and say, OK, I'm actually not going to be an alcoholic in front of my kids, but I'm still going to abuse them.
That's just not reasonable. And so we think that these parents who are alcoholics, which are the major stakeholders that actually harm these kids, are the ones who are not actually going to be affected by this law. And therefore, the opposition's model does not actually solve this big problem, which they brought up. But then it's not actually addressed under their model.
And then, so they said that parents-- they said that kids see parents drink and think that it's normal, and that, as parents model behaviour for kids, we, again, agree that parents model behaviour for kids, which is why it is so important that parents can see-- that kids can see their parents drinking in moderation, and be like, hey, this is OK. And they know to drink in moderation in the future.
Having this stigma around it means that kids, when they turn 18, they're going to binge drink. They're not going to tell their parents about it, or they're going to drink even before they get to 18. And this is how you get unhealthy relationships with alcohol.
And without this communication between parents and kids, with alcohol being so taboo, then it makes even more of an issue with alcoholism. In the future. And then and then they said that kids will begin to enjoy alcohol regardless if they are given to try it. So they said that, if kids are given alcohol to try when they're 12, 13 years old, that they're going to enjoy it, and then they're going to become alcoholics.
But they also agreed that kids are going to try alcohol at a certain time whenever, whether it's before 18 or maybe it's just after they turn 18. So we don't really buy the idea that, just because kids are having it at a young age and, suddenly, they're going to be alcoholics, especially when both teams bring in the vast, vast majority of cases. It's just like, you can have a sip of beer at this game just to try it. It's not like they're drinking 10 beers with their family.
And then we'd also like to stress that most kids in the status quo have good, non-abusive parents. And so the opposition's harms do not actually apply to the vast, vast majority of cases. And we've already proven to you that, in the times where this does apply, the opposition's model will not actually stop any of this, because it is inherently unenforceable.
And then so what the third speaker was saying is-- sorry-- and then so moving on to the issue of what is better for parents, so they said that binge drinking is an issue right now. However, we feel like this issue will only be exacerbated and get worse if parents are forcing to hide their drinking, because this means that they're going to go in their room, or they are going to lock the kids away from their room, so that they have just half an hour in peace to actually drink alcohol.
This means that if they're drinking in a shorter period of time, they're going to get more drunk. And also, they're just hiding it from their parents, and they're actually modelling it. Kids still know that they're going to be drinking. So it is modelling the habit of binge drinking to their kids. And so we don't think that this is beneficial.
The opposition said that they trust parents to make the right choice at home, but it will only be enforced in public. And again, this is just an issue with the enforceability of this. It's not really enforceable, and it doesn't address the real issue, which is alcoholics who are drinking in front of their kids.
And this is an issue which, unfortunately, cannot be fixed on either side of the house. And I would like to just point out, again, that drinking in moderation is simply not harmful. And the opposition contradiction of binge drinking and the idea that parents will follow this model just isn't reasonable.
And so what this means is, under the opposition's model, the negative role models of alcoholics will still exist, because this law isn't being enforced in the home. And that means that kids are still going to see alcoholics. But the good examples of parents' drinking in moderation will disappear, as these parents don't actually drink anymore.
So I'd just like to weigh this up. So taking the opposition at their best and supporting their best case scenario, which is that alcoholic parents, for whatever reason, stop drinking around their kids, in their own words, this, quote, 'might lead to kids, once adults, drinking sometimes occasionally to relax.'
Yet, the opposition pointed this out as an issue, saying that, even though the vast majority of parents right now do that-- just drinking occasionally to relax-- they said that this is an issue. So they're still acknowledging that, even if kids do not see their parents drinking whatsoever, that they're still going to sometimes drink alcohol. And so we don't really see how this issue is fixed.
So first, the opposition knows that kids will try alcohol. Secondly, we both agree that kids will try alcohol. Thirdly, we proved that alcoholics won't stop drinking because of this unenforceable law. And fourthly, we proved that moderate and healthy drinking habits of parents demonstrating this to their kids is what is actually going to lead to kids drinking in moderation when they are an adult, and this is what it's going to be more helpful.
So the opposition said that parents are inherently irresponsible and we can't trust them to drink alcohol responsibly around their kids. Yet, we trust parents to follow these nanny state laws, which cannot be enforced. This just doesn't make sense. And we don't think that this is actually realistic.
And then so for the issue of what is better for the wider society, the opposition said that kids will-- firstly, they brought up the issue of Indigenous communities where we'd like to point out that, if these are families where, again, it's still alcoholics, then the parents who are alcoholics aren't going to actually follow these laws. If they're already giving-- and also, if they're already giving alcohol to children under age, they're already breaking the law. So they're not going to follow this new nanny state law.
And thirdly, we'd like to acknowledge that this is a massive issue, the discrimination in Indigenous communities, which has happened in the past and is still going on right now. However, the opposition's model is not going to solve this issue, because the drinking habits of parents will not change if they are very negative.
And if they are in moderation, then kids don't actually see this positive example of how you can actually drink alcohol safely. And then, finally, they said that people will drink less and, therefore, they'll get less cancer. However, this is idealistic, because we've already proven that prohibition historically doesn't work. Abstinence doesn't work. And there isn't going to be a massive societal change as a result of this model, because it's very unenforceable. So this is why we are proud to negate.
PATRICK CALDWELL: Thanks, everybody. First of all, I think it's probably important to note there are a lot of people in the room who've been in the tournament whose final this is and some who are just about to start their own final. It is no mean feat to be on this stage as some of the top speakers in the state. We would be remiss if we didn't kick this off with a massive round of congratulations to all the debaters up today.
Not for just making it this far, but actually giving us a good grand final. Sometimes, a lot of the times, adjudicators tell you, that was a really great debate in the final. They're doing that to be polite. This isn't one of those times. We enjoyed it. They grappled with a difficult issue, and we connected with a level of maturity that was particularly impressive.
Obviously, if you're familiar with the narrative arc of any adjudication, you'll know that now we've got the compliments of the teams out of the way. We're going to hack on them for a little while, and then I'm going to tell you who won. So let's get into that.
What we think that these teams probably needed to do a little bit better was now that, over the course of this tournament, in particular, and the workshops that they've been to, they've amassed a really, really great set of tools and language to use in their debating, especially around quite complex issues, like personal autonomy and moral obligation.
They really are careful to, first of all, sensibly deploy those tools at the appropriate time in the appropriate context. And second of all, not forget there are a lot of really, really basic steps you still need to do over the course of a debate in order to be victorious.
Let me give you a couple of examples of what the panel means by that. On this idea of moral obligation, which we heard from the affirmative in this debate, we think-- and there's probably not a huge amount of controversy around this-- it's obviously a moral obligation of parents to look after their children.
And they were really good at pointing out the fact that obligation. But this debate in large part came down to the content of that obligation and what it would look like in practise. We think that, while they did the first part really well and they talked about the principle obligation of parents to look after their kids, it's a second step you really need to pay attention to to go through what that looks like in day to day practise, and why that obligation should play out in a model that you're proposing to change the world to look like.
Just like on the negative when they started talking about personal autonomy, that it's an intrusion by the state into the autonomy of parents who look after their kids in the way they want. There's an obvious back half to that, which is to discuss the autonomy of those parents in opposition to the other autonomy that was at play in this debate, which is the autonomy of those kids and their right, perhaps, to grow up in a house that was free of alcohol abuse or demonstrably bad example behaviour.
Ultimately, this debate actually came down to more practical concerns than we think the teams thought it would when they were preparing for their speeches. This debate probably came down to two overarching questions. One, what will drinking in the general population look like after we've introduced this model? Will that be better or worse? And two, what will it look like in specifically vulnerable populations? Is it enough of an impetus to bring this model about?
Onto that first question of what it's going to look like in the general population, we think this was an excellent example of the importance of framing an issue to better suit your argumentation. We think that, in this debate, it was really important that the audience had a sense of what drinking looked like now, what it would look like after the change, and why that was going to be an improvement on the status quo.
And that's as simple as talking about what people's patterns of drinking looks like for the most part in the community today. It's as simple as talking about what an individual kitchen looks like and parents sitting down to dinner, how much they're drinking, and what children are seeing.
That framing was really important for that debate. Because, eventually, what we had was an affirmative that was proposing that there's an eventual chance of abuse when kids are around parents who are having even just one, or two, or more drinks in the house, and that chance of abuse was enough that we should operate to stop parents from drinking, period.
We think the negative was able to recharacterize what that drinking looked like on a daily basis. That was actually what's happening is parents are coming home and having a glass of wine to wind down, and the vast majority are living their lives, engaging healthily with drinking, just as they're engaging healthily with other aspects of their lives, like looking after their kids and going to work. And that the reality was that the vast majority of kids didn't live in a household where they would look at bad behaviour and then replicate it.
Importantly, again, the affirmative content around behaviour that kids mirror to be bad down the track to succeed, they had to show a link between what that behaviour was in the first place and how it was going to change kids' behaviour in the second.
We think that they've got some way to that content when they started to talk about why, when kids are learning about things at school-- and we had quite detailed step through of that educational programme around drinking at school-- that could, sometimes, be contradicted by behaviour of parents at home, and that would be problematic.
But when the negative recharacterize what that behaviour actually was at home, the content of that lesson in the kitchen no longer seemed to be that you could drink abusively and so you shouldn't listen to what your PE teacher is telling you. But instead, to use their terms, the lived experience of drinking alcohol didn't have to be an abusive thing.
But actually, what they was doing is they were seeing the theory of the PE classroom in conjunction with the reality of that positive experience at home. And that meant they had a better take home message around alcohol.
So we think on this general population question, it was the negative that showed that it wasn't worth bringing this model in. But to turn then to the question of vulnerable populations, because, to be clear, it is entirely possible that the affirmative can concede wholesale whether we're going to improve everything across the board, focus narrowly on some specific populations, and give us good reason why everyone in the community should pay a price of liberty in terms of drinking how much they want around their kids in order to safeguard incredibly large harms to those populations.
And so they talked about people who are alcohol dependent and alcohol abusive at the moment. They talked about why that was prevalent and problematic in low SES communities. And they talked especially about how it's prevalent and problematic in Indigenous communities.
We think that the problem the affirmative ran into is that the negative was able to demonstrate that these individual communities were the least amenable to a system of regulations that kind of relied on parental goodwill and on them, basically, going along with what the government said they were going to do.
We think they were able to successfully point out the parents most likely to change their behaviour are ones for whom drinking wasn't really a problem now in the first place. They were then able to point out that those least likely to change their behaviour were those who were already abusing alcohol.
And then as a subsidiary point, were able to point out that kids who are living in an alcohol abusive household now had no comparator. They only had the PE classes at school. They couldn't go over to someone else's house and see any more positive relationship with alcohol engaged in by those parents.
Because, ultimately, that portion of the debate ended up focusing so heavily on those particularly vulnerable populations. But because we didn't think, at the end of the debate, the model actually solved that problem, this debate has fallen to the negative team.
RACHAEL MIBUS: Congratulations, guys. This is really well deserved in your party. You worked really hard for this. And thank you for debating us today.
MAN 1: You'll be hearing from the winning team [inaudible].
TIMOTHY HANNA: We'd would like to thank the organisers, and the adjudicators, and the teachers for making this all possible. And secondly, thank you to the biggest audience I think any of us have ever had. But most importantly, to the opposition, thank you for an incredible debate, and we hope to see you again sometime.
MAN 2: We're pleased to congratulate, once again, the Western Sydney regional team, so if you guys would like to come forward. Jamima Jiffrey.
And their coach, Theresa Pierce.
The 2019 JSDC runners up, Western Sydney Region.
We're pleased to congratulate the winners of JSDC for 2019, the Sydney Region. Alex Christensen.
And their two coaches, Kathy Martin--
--and Ana Farmer.
Once I get the [inaudible] the shield, which is very heavy, one of you might like to tuck maybe between two of you. So once again, guys, can we give them a huge round of applause?
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