We always try to choose topics for our interns' debates on which a strong case can be made for both sides of the argument. At first sight, that might seem not to be the case with our topic for the next debate, "That the AUKUS partnership is in Australia's national interest". Public discussion in the mainstream media and much of the more specialised literature has largely enthused about the prospects of increased Australian defence readiness through obtaining materiel under the AUKUS partnership, with considerable focus on new submarines – most stridently in a Sydney Morning Herald/Melbourne Age series from 7 March, led by veteran commentator Peter Hartcher.

But the discussion is now more contested; aggressively so in the case of Paul Keating's National Press club address of 15 March. The underlying assumption that Australia's interests are substantially the same as those as the United States – particularly in relations with China – has become an important point of difference. Concerns have been raised about increasing the integration of Australian and US defence planning, equipment and command. In the case of the projected submarine purchases, cost and timing have also come under examination, along with the relevance of Britain as a possible alternative or supplementary source. Australian strategic sovereignty is arguably at the heart of the issue.

Our interns will delve into these complexities in their debate on Tuesday 4 April.The affirmative case will be put by speakers Nadia Maunsell, Isobel Logan and Ryan Lung; the negative by Roisin Browne, Bakar Mohamed and Ella Whitehurst.

Roisin Browne is a fourth-year student at the University of Sydney studying a Bachelor of Arts/Advanced Studies (Politics and International Relations, Advanced French).

Isobel Logan is a fourth-year student at the University of Sydney, studying a Bachelor of Arts/Advanced Studies (Politics and International Relations, Economics).

Ryan Lung is a third-year student at the University of Sydney studying a Bachelor of Arts/Advanced Studies, majoring in History and English.

Nadia Maunsell is a recent graduate with a Bachelor of International Studies/Media at the University of New South Wales, where she majored in Communications and Journalism.

Bakar Mohamed is a 3rd year student in the social sciences and prospective M. International relations student.

Ella Whitehurst is a third year Juris Doctor student at the University of New South Wales, with two Bachelor degrees in Asian Studies and Languages from the Australian National University.

(For more information, go to the Internships page​)

Alex McManis will moderate the debate. Alexis a former intern at AIIA NSW. He holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Government and International Relations, both from the University of Sydney. His undergraduate honours thesis analysed the European Union's behaviour at the 2015 U.N. climate negotiations in Paris. He was the Climate and Energy Security Fellow at Young Australians in International Affairs and has clerked at a leading Australian commercial law firm. Alex debated in the finals of the Australian Intervarsity Debating Championships and has judged debating competitions around Australia, Asia and Europe.


We will have space for a limited number of participants in-person at the Glover Cottages, tickets to be pre-paid. Once the limit for in-person attendees is reached, tickets will no longer be sold on the website or at the door.

Refreshments will be served.

This event will also be streamed online via Zoom. Register by clicking the "get tickets" button below. Once you have registered, you will receive a follow-up confirmation email on the day of the event (Tuesday, April 4, containing details of the Zoom link and how to join the event.

The Zoom event will start at 6.30pm AEST (Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne time).

For further information please email: nswexec@internationalaffairs.org.au

Photo from left to right: Ryan, Nadia, Ella, Roisin, Isobel and Bakar


Glover Cottages
Kent Street 124-134
Millers Point, New South Wales, Australia

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For additional event or venue information, please send an email to jennifersayle@gmail.com

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