by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Australia, the magazine : Australia, the magazine
how my country gave me a voice THE LEADER OF THE WORLD'S BEST DEBATING TEAM, STEVE HIND, WAS ONCE A TONGUE TIED CHILD. HERE HE TELLS HIS UNIQUELY AUSTRALIAN STORY. ‘istarted debating when I entered high school as a precocious 13-year-old in 2001. My mother encouraged me to take up debating. I suspect she thought if I were arguing every week in debates, I'd argue less with her. When I was born in Townsville, in Far North Queensland, I was quite literally tongue-tied. I could barely extend my tongue past my lips and as a result I spoke with a thick lisp. Doctors told my mother that there wasn't necessarily a need for me to undergo the operation required to correct the tongue-tie. Luckily for me the decision was made and I had the operation. A er the operation I was for the rst time both talkative and, nally, understandable. I loved speaking so much that almost every one of my primary school report cards featured exasperated comments from long-su ering teachers. Shortly a er my family moved to Brisbane I won a scholarship to a end Brisbane Grammar School and I was introduced to debating. At school, if you made the 'A' team for a sport or activity, you received a line on your blazer. One of my rst discoveries upon arriving at school was that no ma er how much I enjoyed cricket or rugby, I was never going to get a line on my blazer for playing either. For me then, the only option was debating, and I stuck with it. In my penultimate year of high school I was selected in the Queensland Schools' Team, and my debating journey started in earnest. Queensland nished third at nationals that year, but I was selected to be part of the Australian Schools' Team that competed at the World Schools' Championship in Calgary, Canada. My rst debate for Australia was against the Philippines. I don't think before that debate I'd ever met someone from the Philippines. Over ve years later I'm still in contact with some of the members of the Philippines team -- testament to the ability of debating to bring people together. e next year, I had the honour of captaining the Australian Schools' Team at a tournament in Singapore. It was the rst time I had been to Asia. I've been back ve times since. A er winning a scholarship for St Paul's College at the University of Sydney, I started studying economics and law. In my time at university I've been heavily involved in debating. Debating for the University of Sydney has taken me to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Manila, Cork, Antalya and Vancouver. I've made lasting friendships with debaters from all over the world, from Afghanistan to Malaysia to Botswana. I've discussed Harry Kewell's form for Galatasaray with a taxi driver in Istanbul. I've been told where Sydney's best ai food is by a chef in Chiang Mai. e thing that's struck me most in my travels has been the warm opinions people hold of Australia. at a tongue-tied child from Townsville could go on to beat Oxford to win the World University Debating Championships says a lot about Australia. My tongue-tie was corrected because of a health system that allowed me a non-essential operation for free. I a ended a top school and university college because of private philanthropy. I travelled because of the support of my university. is is a country that o ers enormous opportunity. Australia o ers something to everyone and is very much part of the world. at's why it is a country that celebrates and encourages success in any eld -- and as a debater I can vouch for that." subject: last word Steve Hind led the University of Sydney debating team that won the 2009 World Championships in Turkey, defeating such venerable institutions as Oxford University, the London School of Economics and Harvard. At the end of the tournament, he was ranked as the number two debater in the world. 130 Angelo Soulas/Newspix