Having represented Tasmania in the National Schools Debating Championships in 1980, bringing back the national schools' trophy, the Door, for the only time in Tasmania's history, Adam Marshall noted the lack of a consistent debating competition in southern Tasmania. Resolving to fix this problem, he founded the Tasmanian Debating Union to host regular debates between schools.

Since its founding in 1981, the Tasmanian Debating Union has been Tasmania's premier debating organisation for schools' level competition, training and development, and Tasmania's representative to the Australian debating community, the Australian Debating Federation.

The Union is governed by a Constitution, which can be found here.

National Schools Debating Championships

The National Schools Debating Championships is Australia's premier debating competition, coordinated by the Australian Debating Federation and held every year in a different Australian capital. Tasmania has hosted the Championships four times, most recently in 2021.

As the sole Tasmanian affiliate of the ADF, the Tasmanian Debating Union selects the state team from a series of selection events held around the state. Tasmania has fielded a team in most Championships, and has won the schools' Championship once, in 1980, and been Runner-Up twice.

The Australian national team is drawn from the Championships, with Tasmania having been represented on a number of national delegations to the prestigious World Schools Debating Championships.


While we always endeavour to respond to enquiries promptly, the Tasmanian Debating Union is run by volunteers and does not have administrative staff.

The schools competition coordinator, Kathryn Ellis, can be contacted by email at schools@tdu.org.au, or on 0488 469 161 for urgent matters.

Please contact our office bearers if you have any specific questions: