Video transcript
Stop rebutting yourself! – secondary debating – 6. Kate Jackson

Back to video Back to Stop rebutting yourself! – secondary debating

[music playing]

TONY DAVEY: Hey there Kate. How's things?

KATE JACKSON: Good. How are you Tony?

TONY DAVEY: Yeah I'm excellent, I'm excellent, I'm looking forward to this. So you're the latest person to now watch one of their former selves give a speech, and then give yourself a bit of feedback, and finally rebut your tiny former self, which will be excellent fun. But first of all, just tell us who you are, and a little bit about yourself and your debating world.

KATE JACKSON: So I'm Kate. I'm currently a Uni student at USW. I'm in my fourth year of combined degree of arts and law. I started debating in primary school. So, just in the regular competition and then I was in PSSDC in Year 6 for North Sydney, and then continued debating throughout high school. I was in the Year 10 final for PDC and in the JSDC team, and then I did CHS for Year 11 and 12.

TONY DAVEY: Yeah. That's right. A story to debating career from way back in primary school, and now lots of coaching and adjudicating with The Arts Unit as well. So today we're going to watch your second negative speech from the 2013 Junior State Debating Championships Finals. So, so long ago. The topic by the way is that-- the Parents Should Be Prevented From Removing Their Children From Sex Education Classes. Not sure why it's worded like that. But anyway, it's whether or not parents should be allowed to take their kids out of sex-ed classes, and-- yup. We should kick this thing off. Do you reckon you are just about ready to go?

KATE JACKSON: Yup. All ready to go.

TONY DAVEY: Alright, so let's leap into it. Here's your second negative speech from that final.


[audience clapping]

KATE JACKSON: OK. So ladies and gentleman. Today's the day, where we really have, we have an opposition who's willing to stand by and say, you know what we're going to override the choice of everyone else just so like if it's kind of small likelihood that parents might not been doing their job. We have a fair routine, who's kind of willing to crack a few jokes about sex-ed and think that this is OK. When the real issue here is whether the government has the right to make all parents force their children to undergo sex-ed.

And what we've seen from the opposition is they failed to find this clausal link showing that all parents are failing, like the parents, that these minority parents are doing their job. And thus, now everyone has to do sex-ed whether it's suitable for them or not. So in the news, they've kind of had about three key ideas. So first of all on this idea of the child's choice, and you know kids should be able to make their own decisions. You know there might be these old-fashioned parents who are willing to teach them, and kids are going to find out anyway when you have a [inaudible] responses. So first of all, I'd like to point out is when children are under 18, it's the parents who get to make the decisions for them.

This kind of trust between the best interests of the kids. Because you know under 18 you're not kind of feel a type of mental calculus that's able to rationally decide whether it's suitable for you or not. Like what would that suggest is especially whilst going through puberty, like these kids are going to be even more confused because they don't feel their bodily changes. And thus, they're going to be necessarily able to make this rational decision about whether sex-ed is right for them or whether it's like a suitable choice in the way in which it's being taught to them, like understand the method which the [inaudible] team proposed.

And secondly what we'd like to suggest is that you know, if parents are so worried about their sexualized culture that the opposition is highlighted in today's society, if what we'd like suggest is if this is indeed true that there is a sexualized culture, it's actually going to encourage the parents to sit down and have a frank talk with their kids about sex and about sex-ed. And we believe that, although the majority may still be in these standardised classes, and this isn't necessarily an issue, we believe that it's the focus of the minority of the fact that maybe the standardised programme doesn't fit. And this is why we will never stand by the [inaudible] team taking away the choice of all parents of whether their kids have to undergo standardised sexual education classes at school. Because we believe that the parents who have these kids best interest at heart. And they still might be undergoing whether they can still have this little quick chat at home with their kids about sexual education.

And second, what we've heard from the opposition is sex-ed is far more than sex you know. It's all about the relationship in life and good morals, but they're also what we've heard from the opposition that first they've come out and told us that you know, sex-ed we're just bringing really frank with them. We're just telling them how do we have sex. We're not teaching them morals, like obviously we can't do that. And what we really see here is the inherent contradiction with the opposition's team's case.

First of all they've come out first thing they're going to say, no one is teaching the basics. We're not going to tell them how to live their life. We're not going to tell them. Then we've had them come out in second speaker and say sexual education is more than just sex. It's about the morals of relationships. And so the advocacy of this inherent contradiction, but let's just say let's accept this second speaker and say that maybe, they are going to be talking about relationships.

And we believe this is an inherent flaw within the proposed model because, as we've told you the whole way along, people have different ideas for sex. Sex is a very contentious issue. And we believe that-- these teachers who were teaching sex education, their morals [inaudible]. It can like, kind of seep through into it. So what we can see is like, maybe a kid is considering having a homosexual relationship, but I'm the sex-ed at the school to be immoral because of any specific teaches of-- their teaching may seem as like an intrinsic harm, which is more likely to exist under further teams like compulsory model rather like a opt-out system, which is currently in place.

And finally, we have this issue of sexual assault. So first of all we've heard this one liner that it's going to protect kids, and they're going to be able to protect themselves from the first offence. And then they have grown up to expand with this. And really what we've heard from them is you know, they're couldn't know if they've been assaulted because I mean if they don't undergo sexual education they're not going to know it's wrong. So first, I only have a few key responses to this.

So first of all, what we'd like to point out is that you know most kids are going to have this basic common sense of whether it's inappropriate to touch each other whether it's inappropriate but you know maybe in an older adult. So first of all, we think this is already like-- instinctive nature which kids understand. Secondly we'd like to point out that you know, kids, they're not taught how to protect themselves and not taught defensive measures on these sex-ed classes. And like what we believe is especially because these kids like particularly young when they're undergoing it. It's not necessarily going to make a difference to the issue they've identified because you're not suddenly going to be able to protect themselves because you know, they know how to use a banana and put a condom on. Because that's not going to stop a sexual assault.

And therefore we see this issue raised by the affirmative. They've raised this issue, but they've also failed to raise a solution to the problem. And thus, through their model we can see that it's really going to have a negative impact on this issue whatsoever. And finally, what we might suggest is this idea, they've raised-- these radical parents are going to want their kids to kind of have any knowledge of sex. First, I'm going to have to hear responses.

So first of all, what we like to suggest is you know, if anything we think that these parents are more likely to go out and teach their kids about it because they want to make sure that their kids stay true to their religion. They want to make sure that their kids are getting the highest level of [inaudible]. And if that is by teaching them not to have sex or just like what sex is so that they it cannot happen, we believe the opposite is going to happen. And secondly, what we like to suggest is that even if there were these incredible radicalists, what we'd like to suggest is that these kids have grown up with their parents their whole life, and you know potentially this radicalism has passed down. And therefore, they're not going to be engaging in sex because they've been taught their whole life--

[bell rings]

--that sex isn't a good thing. And therefore, we believe that these [inaudible] hasn't sufficiently dealt with this issue. So now onto my first point of like the developmental issues and how kids reach puberty at different age. And that's why parents are the best equipped to decide whether it is appropriate for their kids be receiving sex education.

So sex education is usually introduced at early stages of puberty on several issues. It's usually around the age five or six. And thus we can see that some kids won't yet have reached puberty and consequently will be negatively detrimented. We believe that there are two potential outcomes for these kids who have not yet reached puberty, who are forced to underage sexual education. So for the first outcome we believe that is able to occur is it could make these kids feel incredibly awkward if they wouldn't fully understand what was being taught. And thus we would suggest that within this class, the child wouldn't condemn what was being taught. And thus they would kind of isolate themselves.

And this would negatively determine the child as to their first large exposure to sex. It would be linked to feelings of like confusion and isolation. We believe this has potential of negative impacts on them later in life. And what we believe is the second outcome, which has a likelihood of occurring and is still incredibly detrimental is that like ladies and gentlemen, kids are incredibly naturally curious. And what we believe is that by bringing in sexual education at such a young age in a standardised way as proposed by the [inaudible] team, it actually has the potential to promote sexual experimentation.

So although we believe that kids who like maybe mature enough to be aware of the issues regarding sex, we do not believe that they're mature enough to be engaging in the-- sexual acts itself. And so although they've been taught the basics, they're too young to fully comprehend the entirety of the matter. And thus, due to the detrimental effects of both outcomes from learning sexual education, so any of this awkwardness associated within the isolation of all of this. Like, sexual-- experimentation, we can see that-- having sexual education at such a young age is going to actually be more detrimental enough. So we believe that it's ultimately up to the--

[bell rings]

--parents to be able to introduce this opt-out system. And secondly, obvious idea like protecting your sex-ed. We have two key ideas on this. So as we have already acknowledged we can see that sexual education is like extremely contentious. And thus, we can see that as I touched on it with you my rebuttal that you know, teachers are going to have different ways of dealing with it. And thus it has the potential to be like half of those in the minority to make think homosexual, and who may have cultural values. And for these reasons we can see that it's going to be detrimental onto like the minority, and to an extreme effect we a crowd to oppose.

[audience clapping]

TONY DAVEY: OK. An excellent speech. I forgot how much fun that debate was. I remember when we setup, we were worried that it might be a little bit too like grown up. But everyone handled it so well. And it was, yeah, an impressive, impressive debate. Alright, so if you were the adjudicator for that debate and you had a chance to go and talk to yourself afterwards, what kind of feedback would you give yourself?

KATE JACKSON: So I think it was definitely interesting watching it back. I obviously have very minimal recollection haven't seen this debate in seven years. So seeing like 14 or 15 year old Kate doing a debate is very different. I think probably three pieces of feedback. Firstly, I think overall that was pretty consistent rebuttal, like you know I've dealt with most the material that came out with quite a bit of detail using characterisation, pointing out any possible inconsistencies. That was all relatively well done, and I think particularly where I said that, you know these are two possible solutions or instances that come out of your model, let's deal with both of them. That's part of, you know good way of making sure that you're covering all possible ground that can come out.

But I think maybe as a piece of feedback to make that rebuttal even better is it went for quite long in this debate. It went for up to six minutes. That's increasingly becoming the trend particularly for a negative speaker. But I think that to make that more effective, what would be beneficial is to maybe group it into the key issues of the debate. Instead if you look at my speech, I'm mainly kind of identifying each argument and dealing with it in turn, but I think what would be more persuasive in this instance is to you know deal with it more consistently, grouping those issues.

I think second piece of feedback is that throughout, both my rebuttal and my argument, there's kind of this broad assumption that I rely on that like maybe these classes will be standardised, maybe they'll be implemented across the state or the nation, but I don't think there's like a lot of consistent characterisation about what these specific curriculum will be. And I think that maybe what I could have done a little bit that there is build it up even more. Talk specifically about the types of things that are going to be present, the types of things that aren't going to be present either. So is it going to be a purely biological discussion and approach to sexual education, or is it going to talk more about consent?

I think that comes through in elements, but like the most amount of characterisation I give is like a joke about a banana. And that could maybe have been a little bit well tone slightly more. And I think third and final piece of feedback is about argument. So I think that increasingly we're looking at impacts on stakeholders in debates, and particularly those who are maybe minority or vulnerable stakeholders. So I think particularly the debate about sexual education, there definitely is lots of room to talk about people you know, from minority experiences or minority backgrounds. So just thinking about that when you're deciding when your arguments are coming out, whether they should come out at first speak or at second speak are the order in which it comes out within your own speech.

Particularly in this debate, considering I spoke overtime, only had about 30 or 40 seconds of my last argument, which could have been an argument that might have been really important in the debate. I didn't give myself enough time to talk about it. That that probably had an impact on my team, which was a shame.

TONY DAVEY: Yeah. Fantastic feedback Kate. Especially the stuff about rebuttals. So now that you're a bit older and wiser and you've given yourself that feedback about rebuttal, I'm going to call on you to stand up, and I suppose basically third affirmative, and rebut your former self and try to cross yourself.


TONY DAVEY: So are you ready to go?

KATE JACKSON: Yeah. Great.

TONY DAVEY: Fantastic. Alright. Then ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kate Jackson, notionally the third speaker of the affirmative in 2013 to continue the debate. Yay, whoa, Kate, yay, whoa.

KATE JACKSON: So we think that the importance of sex education to students all across Australia and all across New South Wales cannot be understated. It equips them to engage in consensual relationships to understand like the nuances of how they feel and how their bodies are changing. And that's why it was always going to be the right of the government to enforce mandatory attendance. Two issues in rebuttal. So firstly-- whether the government has a right in this instance to override parents choice in forcing children to attend mandatory sex education classes, and secondly what did we think the broad impact was going to be on students and like their well being and understanding of sex?

So under this first issue of whether the government has a right to override parent choice. The negative term tells us that it is only a minority of parents who will likely instigate this, maybe, or who won't have their children's best interests at heart. But in the majority of cases, you know, people were still happy to have frank discussions with their children about sex and this would be enough for sex education. We have three responses to this.

So firstly, we think that on a principled level, a parent's right to make choices for their children is actually not as absolute as what the negative team wants to tell you. We think this is because while as parents broadly have the right to choose what school to send their children to, they don't actually have the right to withhold this level of education altogether. The government in this instance will still step in and say, this is an important thing for your child to receive, an education, and we will enforce this for you. We think this is broadly analogies. In this instance we think that having a good understanding of sexual education is just as important as having like other forms of education. And so that's why we think the government in this instance does have the right to override parents.

So the second thing we would say is we think there is a broad trade off to be made. That is to say that we will infringe on the minority, maybe of like people who would want to withdraw their children from sex education. And we would maybe infringe on this freedom of choice slightly because we think the broader benefit and the broader protection-- that we impose upon these students is far more important. The comparative harm-- of a few parents feeling as though they cannot control their children's education to the extent they would like to is just not as important as the harm to those children who may never receive proper sex education.

Because no, we think that it is not that these children won't ever be exposed to sex. We think that this is like probably a big part of like playground discussions, particularly if other people in the classroom-- experiencing these classes. And so if anything they will experience a more unregulated discussion, a less safe discussion, as they don't receive the information firsthand from their teachers and instead receive like a weaker probably much more conservative or a kind of vague instruction from their parents if they feel confident enough to go home.

The third thing that we would like to say here is that we think that negative team tells us that well oh if religious parents are so religious they're going to stop their children from having sex by having these really frank discussions. We think that like maybe this is true in a minority of cases, but there's actually far broader harms, right? Because if you're a gay child growing up in a very fundamentally religious household, you will feel that-- entire being is being undermined by your parent's religion. You will feel as though you will definitely go to hell because of your religion, and that is why it is so important that like schools have this mandatory sex-ed to ensure-- people are able to understand their identity. It's not just about putting a banana on a condom, as you know the second negative speaker wanted to tell us about, but it's about learning about consensual relationships. It's about learning about broad different gender identities and sexuality's.

And that is something that like religious or fundamental parents well in most cases is going to be unwilling to discuss, and that had massive harms for these children involved. That meant in that at the end of this first issue, we think that this right was never absolute for a parent to retain freedom of choice in how their children was educated. But in this instance, there was a particular harm if we preserve that.

Onto the second issue of what was going to be the impact on students. Here negative team tells us a couple of different things. First of all they just like don't really understand our nuanced approach to how you can like teach sex and educate unwritten relationships and how this can interact. And secondly, they're worried about like sexual experimentation. So again, we have three responses to this. First of all we think there is room to have nuanced discussions about like safe sex and like you know, consensual relationships that don't actually verge into like moralistic grounds. Right? You can present the fact that there are different genders and different types of relationships which exist. We think if we looked at things like the Safe Schools programmes, that is something that is maybe a precedent that we can understand as being an inclusive dialogue about sexual relationships.

But that didn't necessarily mean that a teacher was imposing moral oversights about how things were going to play out. Note here that the second negative speaker also tells us that, oh well maybe teachers will be moralistic and that will mean that a homosexual relationship is portrayed as being bad. The thing he was is this was entirely uncomparative because we thought that if you came from like a fundamental religious background, this was far more likely to betray-- a homosexual relationship has been problematic and going to be far worse coming from someone who was your own parent if you are a gay child.

And secondly under this we thought there was far more oversight to check moralistic teachers because like, you know there were other children in the classroom you could report them to the principal or other people in the Department of Education, whereas you can't report your parent to anyone for like having views that don't include your sexuality. So then secondly, they tell us that well kids actually are going to be safer because we're only teaching them about consent. We're not teaching about self-defence.

We thought this was like a fairly unfair response. Obviously on affirmative team we can never like, holy overhaul sexual assault on its occurrence, but we were able to equip students from an incredibly young age the importance of understanding the nuances of relationships, of understanding when like yes means actually yes or whether it has been a coercive relationship. But also that they were going to like have flags, you know were going to be able to detect red flags if they ever entered relationships into people in which there was a massive power dynamic. That didn't necessarily mean that they were going to be like equipped to fight off every and all attacker, but it did mean that they could think to themselves, reflect on their own personal experiences, and then maybe feel comfortable talking to other people about it if they didn't otherwise have that experience.

That was completely unavailable on negative team side of the debate when you just don't learn what consent is whatsoever, and you don't learn what like respecting relationships are whatsoever. The last you know sub- issue here is whether students are going to like feel embarrassed or more urgent to sexual experimentation. We think the thing to note here is that like these children are still going to go through puberty, right? We know that through like centuries and decades is that when students reach a certain age, they like go through puberty, they have certain urges, and they are likely going to like go through forms of sexual experimentation regardless of what they are learning in the classroom.

The thing that we provide them on affirmative is the ability to negotiate this relationship, this ability to understand consent to understand how their body works. And that was far more important than maybe that a few more kids would like you know try and understand how their body worked. We think it was actually better that they were experimenting with their bodies in a way that was maybe more informed by like science, that was more informed by ideas of consent, that was more informed by ideas of respect than just broadly going to the playground otherwise and engaging in this experimentation. We think that kids were going to feel embarrassed about this because their bodies were going to one day change anyway, but they were going to feel far more embarrassed if something happened with their body that they had no idea whatsoever about because their parents pulled them out of sex education classes and refused to discuss like what was changing and what was happening in their body and in their mind.

That meant that at the end of this debate we thought that the government had a right to force children to attend sex education classes because it was something that was going to set them up really importantly for the rest of that life, and the impact on students was like always going to be beneficial. Even if you felt a little bit embarrassed when a teacher said a funny word, you are still going to be more equipped to understand whether you were in a happy relationship, how your body was changing, and how you were able to consent to things going on in the future.

TONY DAVEY: Excellent stuff. Fantastic, and cruel, and better organised than old Kate. Also just in case anyone's wondering and worried that Kate has destroyed the space time continuum, Safe Schools actually started in 2010. So you're just OK.

KATE JACKSON: I wasn't really sure, but it's all right.

TONY DAVEY: Well played. Alright, so thank you for joining in and rebutting yourself Kate. Stay safe out there, and we'll see you around. You too. See ya.

End of transcript