Interschool parliamentary debates

NOTE: all debate programs have been cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID19 pandemic

Five programs are held in the chamber at the Legislative Assembly for the ACT throughout the year and run for a full school day. Each program is presided over by the Speaker or other MLAs. Topics are nominated through teacher and student feedback.

Program expression of interest

Program overview

The Legislative Assembly's parliamentary debates program aims to provide:

Each school team is made up of four students, and participates in two debates.  In the first debate, the school team presents their case and in the second debate the team questions the school team presenting.

The presenting team:

The questioning team:

Each debate lasts 20 minutes and proceeds as follows:

There is then a period of open question time (Questions without Notice) in which:

The debates are presided over by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly for the ACT or another Member who is in charge of keeping order and ensuring that students comply with the standing orders and code of conduct as outlined below. At the end of each debate the Speaker puts the question to the vote to determine the outcome, and offers comments about the performance of the teams. A "Meet the Members" session rounds out the day enabling students to ask available MLAs questions about their role or what happens in the Chamber. Students are presented with a certificate of participation by the Speaker at the end of the program. For more detail please view the debate manual.

2020 debate programs

Year 11/12 debates on 9 April 2020



9.00-9.25amRegistration open at the Legislative Assembly, entry via public entrance located on Civic Square.


Welcome and briefing by Speaker.


Governments should provide incentives for purchasing electric cars.


The ATAR system for university admission should be abolished.


Australia should allow voluntary voting for people aged 16 to 18 years.


Morning tea


Australia day should be celebrated on 26 January.


The female majority in the Ninth Assembly demonstrates that affirmative action is unnecessary.


The benefits of animal testing outweigh the costs.


Solar panels should be mandatory on all new buildings in the ACT.




Australian Territories should have the right to pass assisted dying laws.


Banning travel from countries experiencing health pandemics is justified.


Australia needs a bill of rights.


Questions to MLAs


Closing comments and presentation of certificates

Year 9/10 debates on 29 May 2020

Program cancelled for 2020

Year 7/8 debates on 5 June 2020

Program cancelled for 2020

Year 9/10 debates on 7 August 2020

Program cancelled for 2020

Year 7/8 debates on 21 August 2020

Program cancelled for 2020