English & EAL

Oral Presentation Topics 2019

Ishra Ranatunge

January 11, 2019

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List of topics

1. ‘Implementing a sugar tax to curb Australian obesity.’

Premise: Mexico and UK have already implemented the ‘Sugar Tax’ on soft drinks to prevent obesity through the avenue of consumer choices, with this debate being sparked in Canada and Australia as to whether this is a viable solution. The World Health Organization believes this could reduce consumption of sugar by reinvesting the more expensive prices into health initiatives against ‘Childhood Obesity’. The Federal Government is facing this decision in 2019, to introduce these radical changes. Thus, whether or not the sugar tax should be implemented would be the core of your oral.

Links:

Basis of the tax

Young stakeholders

Expert opinions, use this for further reading

Mexico comparison, who have done this

British conversation, opposing views on sugar tax

2. ‘What can Australia do to reduce the dangers of paramedic assault and overtime?’

Premise: Lately in the media, paramedic attacks and unreasonable overtime shifts means that the safety of our ambulance staff is compromised. A series of movements and a necessity for awareness has been sparked in Australia, with one paramedic being assaulted every 50 hours, and 147 assaulted in 2018. Whether or not people choose to support ambulance safety on a political front, social front or preemptive front (see Ambulance Victoria’s ‘Help keep our ambos safe at work’), action has been gaining momentum in contemporary news and campaigns. Is Australia doing enough for paramedic safety? This would be the basis of your oral.

Links:

Ambulance Victoria’s campaign

Paramedics’ Union urging Political Parties in 2019

Other factors, overtime shifts

Further reading on specific cases of paramedic violence


3. ‘How are our politicians dealing with events of Melbourne CBD terrorism?’

Premise: A series of concentrated terrorist attacks on Melbourne’s Bourke Street and around Melbourne’s CBD has led to preventative measures such as 88 concrete blocks and anti-terror speaker systems. With politicians such as Matthew Guy pushing movements such as suspects facing curfews and counselling and drones around the city being put in place to monitor events like Christmas Day and New Years, this issue is being noted. But is enough being done? How effective are these measures, and are the police and government working closely enough to avoid these situations? This would be the basis of your oral.

Links:

Victoria Police’s response to terrorism

Bourke Street incidents

Links to other attacks and opinion article

Political movements from Matthew Guy

Anti-terror measures

4. ‘Are loot boxes just gaming, or gambling?’

Premise: The question of whether loot boxes being utilised in video games marketed to underage children are in fact exposing them to gambling is currently being debated at a Senate level in Australia and around the world. Whilst opinions are segregated on whether this is harmless or harmful, statistics and experts seem to believe in Europe that the detriment is too high, with 15 gambling regulators pinning game developers and publishers. Similarly, the UK and especially Australia have been making movements to rid the gaming industry of this practice. However, ‘EA Games’ is a big player against this, thriving of their sales in games such as ‘FIFA Coins’ and ‘Star Wars: Battlefront’. Thus, whether it is just gambling or gaming would form this oral.

Links:

The Senate Inquiry on loot boxes

Are loot boxes gambling?

Expert Opinions

Age restrictions with gambling v. gaming

Global statistics/reasons against

5. ‘Anti-vaccination movements within Australia.’

Premise: The anti- vaccination movement, concentrated in the beachside town of Byron Bay in Australia is claiming more young lives daily, as medical reports are starting to note a greater toll in whooping cough cases and other vaccination related diseases. With campaigns such as the ‘No Jab, No Play’ initiative and other experts stating the way vaccinations are being handled, the situation is not apt in the current necessity for herd immunity amongst young Australians. Whether or not vaccination should be more heavily emphasised would be explored in this oral.

Links:

Geographic case study for vaccinations

Implications and health issues

No jab, no play campaign

Case studies

For vaccination

6. ‘The competition of Uber, Taxis and other ride sharing services.’

Premise: The hyper competitive nature of ride-sharing services and transport on the Australian field means that Uber and taxis have a lot more competition with one another, meaning shared business can affect the others customers in a major way. Hence, the Australian approach of lawsuits and the pickup of other services such as Shebah, Gocatch and Ola, means that drivers are facing harder times finding customers and also maintaining a steady stream of income. Whether or not these competing companies escalate the quality of transport or are too detrimental to driver’s livelihood would be explored in this oral.

Links:

The premise

Taxi share zones, official action/recognition

The legal aspects

For the competitive nature

Other platforms that affect this

7. ‘The drought impact on Australian farmers.’

Premise: Communities within Australia, specifically in Queensland, prepare themselves for overwhelming drought this 2019, with as their profits will most probably drop below $13,000 in this next financial year for farmers. Whilst milk companies and other politicians have attempted to rally with farmers, more attention seemingly may have to be put in place to assure the livelihood of these agricultural practitioners. Hence, even with drought relief practices and campaigns with many stakeholders in the government and as owners of business, it may require more of a push on a formal level in these pivotal years for farmers. The necessary movements and activism for greater support of farmers would be explored in this oral.

Links:

The lack of support for drought

What the implications of drought are

Campaigns and movements already in place

Stakeholders and the issues amongst them

The up and coming concerns for drought in 2019

8.Microplastics in the Ocean.’

Premise: The rise in plastic consumption on a global scale and also lack of environmental solutions has led sea turtle’s digestive tracts and parts of the deepest oceans to be littered with seemingly minute particles called ‘microplastics’. However, these particles have detrimental effects and often litter foods, water sources and our ecosystem, usually sinking to the bottom of the ocean, with 99% of the plastic the seas contain building on the bottom. Ultimately, how we deal with these microplastics and whether it is important would be illustrated in this oral.

Links:

Marianas Trench plastics

Contamination in foods

Actions against microplastics

The basics of microplastics

Expert opinions

9.Indigenous ‘Close the Gap’ Campaign’.

Premise: The ‘Close the Gap’ campaign originally focused on integrating the Indigenous people back into modernized society that excluded them wrongly. Objectives were necessary to fulfill educational reforms, social necessities and the favour within employment that needed to be shown in order to “even the playing field”. Over the years, this has been scrutinised and subjected to downfalls, both political and social, with many of these objectives not achieved. Thus, greater attention or movement may have to be incited. Hence, whether enough is being done or more needs to be provoked would inspire this oral.

Links:

Scott Morrison on the current ‘Closing the Gap’ measures

Discussion of the origins of this movement

Stakeholders in parliament, Indigenous rights

A review of the campaign and its downfalls

The new closing the gap campaign and its implications


10. ‘Can we use genetically modified foods in daily life?’

Premise: The discussion of GMOs (genetically modified foods) and their ethical, moral and health implications have segregated both consumers and producers alike. Australia’s viewpoint of the scientific practice in modifying foods has been portrayed in the recent elongation to bans in South Australia until 2025, but has also been challenged with groundbreaking research that could double the crop yield in theory, due to the advances in photosynthetic characteristics and other chemical properties of plants. Thus, whether or not they should be refuted or supported would form the basis of this oral.

Links:

The science behind GM foods

Other global players accepting GM crops

Advances and what this means for farmers

Photosynthesis/scientific endeavours in the field of GM crops

The bans in South Australia, and the dangers

11. ‘The wage gap: Women in STEM.’

Premise: It is rare to find a career where the exact same work will be paid differently based on sexuality, race or gender. It seems in the contemporary age the real issue is that cultural norms raise more women lawyers, doctors and teachers than engineers, physicists and STEM workers. Rather than a direct percentage of the pay gap, it is made apparent that it is rather a systematic average of less over time because of the careers being chosen. Whether or not the wage gap is due to STEM and what we can do to prevent this would be the formation of your oral.

Links:

What is the gender pay gap?

Statistics and figures

Australian specific pay gap

Against the gender pay gap

12. ‘Should we take on Finland’s education system?’

Premise: Standardised testing is often a debate that goes without alternatives that truly work. But the core of Finland’s number 1 education system in the world is that they hire so many good teachers, hence independent learning is monitored and possible. The VCE system and IB curriculum does not streamline because students are so pressured they do not take time to explore and ultimately find what they want to do in tertiary. In Finland, it is less about the competition, and more about individual learning up until university so that they excel in different pathways. What would it take to change Australian systems to model this? This would be a key idea within your oral.

Links:

Australian education reform

Study assist packages being released

Universities involved, education opportunities amongst

Finland school system comparison

The National qualifications bureau

13. ‘Should we change Australia day?

Premise: This is a heavily utilised oral topic. The Australia Day debate is a popular one, and this is because it is rich in cultural, social, ethical and political stances within itself. With the date remaining the same in 2019, and with the fireworks of the Perth council still going ahead, more protests and council movement means that these discussions are still very contemporary and readily available online. The bids and failed attempts to change the day to a Reconciliation Week celebration, or any date but ‘Invasion Day’ all form evidence to back up either side. Hence, the question of whether or not the date should be moved would be the primary focus of this oral.

Links:

‘For’ changing Australia Day in its entirety

The council players in changing the date

Bids/failed attempts to change the date

The council’s on movements and government reflection on history

14. ‘Is the National Broadband Network, working?’

Premise: The National Broadband Network policy meant that the telecommunications sector was supposed to gain momentum and strengthen itself, however, downfalls of the technicians and rollout of the service have meant public scrutiny and Government blame being laid. Telstra’s work on this with ping and download speeds being effective, but upload speeds suffering means that Australian consumers are not completely satisfied with the service, putting into question the ultimate effectiveness of NBN as an invested infrastructure. The success of NBN would form the base of this oral.

Links:

New rollouts geographically

New government policies

The effectiveness of NBN

Does it work as promised?

Downfalls of NBN

15.Teaching standards for undergraduates in Australia.'

Premise: The teaching standards of Australia have been heavily scrutinised after certain lower ATAR scores were primarily accepted into the fields. Thus, the question of whether the right teachers are being accepted and their skills are being honed is put into the spotlight, as a lower bar for the academic necessity of the career sparks debate on whether the standards for Australian education has fallen. However, with 2 teachers in the Global Top 50 for the education sector means there is still hope, and with lots of regional areas geographically, it can be difficult- So whether or not Australia is doing enough would form this oral.

Links:

ATARs and their own role in teachers

The skills necessary for teachers

A lower bar for academics means a lower bar for teachers

The consequences for teachers in regional areas

Australian teacher’s success stories

16. ‘Is the cost of living rising too high in Australia?’

Premise: The cost of living within Australia is inevitably rising, with a spike of homelessness within Sydney and the common retiree locations being in Asian countries forming the basis of whether or not we should start working on this sector of Australia’s wealth. However, some sources argue that our economy is steady and positive, with the perspective gained on this challenging what 2019 seems to hold for the cost of living. It is a contemporary topic as the next generation will have to face these challenges, proving an interesting oral if you focus on the stakeholders in each category (teenagers, workers, government and retirees).

Links:

The rising homelessness rates

Key area in the study of rising prices

The perspective of the greater economy in comparison to the cost of living

The meaning for retirees and where they have to go

The changes in 2019 to the cost of living

17. ‘Are we doing enough to aid beekeepers in Australia?’

Premise: The ‘Save the Bees’ campaign begun as we started to realise the necessity and imminent danger we would face if bees were in harm's way. Recently, South Australia faced some strange occurrences with mysterious bee deaths, and younger stakeholders attempting to grasp Australia’s bee population. National Geographic focused on real steps and actions that could be taken within Australia, with measures that could potentially be put in place in order to protect these bees. Hence, this could be a unique oral if presented with the statistics and urgency of this issue.

Links:

Young stakeholders trying to save the bees

The implication of bees dying

Bees dying in South Australia

The plan to save Australia’s bees

Other measures in place that may affect bees

18. ‘The impact of the strawberry needle scare.

Premise: The Strawberry Needle Scare was a 2018 issue, with 2019 implications in the dangers of food tampering, and a case of needles in grapes at a Melbourne store. Moreover, the implications for farmers and the agricultural community meant that many workers were affected by this, as consumers initially feared the worst, affecting Australian livelihood at its core. Thus, in order to do a contemporary oral on this, you would focus primarily on the impact on the farmers, what future fears could arise, (eg. the grape needle scare), and what consumers need to be aware of in future contamination.

Links:

The grape scare, new to 2019

The Western Australian side of the strawberry scare

Food tampering in history, where this fits

The effects on farmer that the needle scare has

The movement for farmers from consumers to just ‘cut them up’

19. ‘The epidemic of anxiety.

Premise: In a digital, gratification-desiring age, anxiety and depression are symptoms of the high pressure scenarios within daily life. Recently, new studies proving the dire nature within Australia’s mental health provoked more attention by experts and the population into methods and the ‘epidemic’ we face, as we continue to head down a dark spiral. With case studies, statistics and the current situation within pressurised work situations, this could form a strong oral.

Links:

The need for instant gratification

The effects of employment on mental health

Australian statistics on worry and anxiety

The Kids helpline and a case study

More statistics/stakeholders in the debate

20. ‘Is the zero road toll possible?’

Premise: The concept of the ‘Towards Zero’ campaign is that we would have no deaths on the roads in short. This takes drink driving measures, the hazardous first months of a probationary driver and the zones in which these accidents are most highly occurring into consideration, as the government, younger drivers, and adult drink drivers are all concerned. There are already worrying trends going into 2019 however, as this forms the basis of some concerning patterns, and could be explored either way in an oral of whether or not the ‘zero road toll’ is truly possible.

Links:

The action plan, released by TAC branch

The implications of striving for the road 0 toll

What is already in place, is there grounds to this?

Trends and why it may not be possible

The official campaign

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