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The Cambridge Union comes to Perth
On Sunday 19th February the Cambridge Society of Western Australia held their inaugural debating event, with the promotional title “The Cambridge Union comes to Perth”, which was hosted by Guildford Grammar School in the eastern suburbs of the city. Quite curiously the school, which is an Anglican foundation, boasts a magnificent chapel which looks very much like a miniature of King’s.
The event was a resounding success, and with attendance well into three figures the hall was filled close to capacity and we even needed a last-minute rush to squeeze in a couple of dozen extra chairs before the start.
The motion “This House believes that the primary purpose of education must be to train the mind to think, ahead of teaching vocational skills” was hotly debated by our six principal speakers, with many passionate contributions from the floor of the house. For many of our members it really was a nostalgia trip back to their days at the Union long, long ago. Judge Robert Nicholson AO (Corpus Christi 1997) led for the Motion, leader for the Opposition was John Quarterman (Magdalene 1985), and seconds for both sides were final year students of the school. Speaking third for the motion was Judge David Charters (St John’s 1950) and third for the opposition was token Oxonian Brian Ross (Worcester 1946). In the chair as ‘Union President’ was Cambridge Society of WA President Nick Suess (Caius 1966). Upon the division of the House the Motion was carried by approximately a two-thirds majority.
We hope that this will now become an annual event in the Society’s increasingly active calendar.
Added: 20 February 2012
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