Junior State Debating Championships

The Junior State Debating Championships provide unique opportunities for talented debating students from NSW government schools in Years 9 &10 to engage in debates and workshops within the context of an annual camp.

Congratulations to North Coast Region, winners of the 2013 Championships. They defeated the Northern Sydney team in the final, held on Wednesday 27 November at the Women's College, University of Sydney.

North Coast Region Winning Team

(Left to right- Lloyd Cameron, Zoe Schmidt, Connor Hoban, Azlan Currie, Laura Neal, James Taylor)

About the Competition

This competition began in 1981 as the Neil Gunther Inter-Regional Debating Competition, involving Year 10 students from across the state. The name of the competition changed in 1988 to the Junior State Debating Championships for the Neil Gunther Shield. In 1991 it was decided to incorporate the competition into a camp to enable a change of focus on developing skills in effective communication in both debating and public speaking while also concentrating on enhancing teamwork in a competitive environment.

Rules of Competition

  • The Junior State Debating Championships involve representative regional teams and their coaches from across the state.
  • Competitors should be from Years 9 and 10 attending a government school.
  • Only one student may be selected per school and each student may only compete at one Championships.
  • Teams should be comprised of five members.
  • Each speaker should speak for a maximum of eight minutes, with a warning bell at six minutes. A continuous bell will be rung at nine minutes.
  • The topics will only be disclosed, and decided upon, immediately prior to preparation time.
  • Teams should prepare their debates within a predetermined time limit of one hour, without the assistance of their coaches.

Stages of Competition

  • The Junior State Debating Championships are held over three days at the end of November
  • The ten teams are placed in two pools, each containing five teams. All teams have four debates and one workshop over the first two days of the championships.
  • The winners of the two pools meet in the Final, which is held prior to lunch on the third day to enable teams to travel back to their home regions.
  • Members of the Flying Squad adjudicate the debates and give workshops in advanced debating techniques, including refutation, definition and case development.


  • The Neil Gunther Shield is awarded to the State Champion Team.
  • The Lily Gunther Shield is awarded to the Best Speaker of the Championships as decided by the Flying Squad and the State Debating Coordinator.
  • Medallions are awarded to team members of both teams competing in the State Final
  • Certificates are awarded to all participants.


The 2013 Championships took place at Women’s College, University of Sydney from Monday 25 November to Wednesday 27 November.

Teams that competed are listed below:


Fort Street High School

Caringbah High

Sydney Girls High School

Sydney Boys High School

Newtown High School of the Performing Arts


NBSC Manly Selective Campus

Normanhurst Boys High School

Turramurra High School

North Sydney Girls High School

Cheltenham Girls High School


Beverly Hills Girls High School

Prairiewood High School

Elderslie High School

Sir Joseph Banks High School

Hurlstone Agricultural High  School


Glenwood High School

Northmead High School

Winmalee High School

Penrith High School

James Ruse Agricultural High School


Gorokan High School

Kotara High School

Hunter School of the Performing Arts

Merewether High School

Gosford High School


Nambucca Heads High School

Woolgoolga High School

Murwillumbah High School

Mullumbimby High School

Casino High School


Inverell High School

Duval High School

Oxley High School

Quirindi High School


Murray High School

Barham High School

Kooringal High School

Murrumburrah High School


Karabar High School

Nowra High School

Bomaderry High School

Smiths Hill High School

Braidwood Central School


Orange High School

The Henry Lawson High School

Oberon High School

Dubbo College, Delroy Campus

Past Winners