We’ve come to that time in the year when everyone is scrambling to find the perfect Oral Presentation topic. Choosing the best topic for you is easily the most difficult part of this SAC, so to hopefully ease the burden, I’ve crafted this list with the latest and biggest global debates. My two biggest pieces of advice are NOT to choose an overly complex subject and NOT to choose anything you don’t really understand. A simple idea that is argued effectively works far better than a complex idea argued poorly. Moreover, find a topic that you are genuinely passionate about; regardless of what your ideas are, your passion is the key to success.
That being said, if you are currently struggling to find some inspiration, have a read of the following oral topics that will hopefully bring light to the relevant and pressing issues of the world.
If you haven’t already, check out our Ultimate Guide to Oral Presentations for some general tips and tricks to get you started!
1. Not enough is being done to address gender discrimination, violence and inequality in Australia
We are lucky to live in a country where gender discrimination is on the decline, and where we’re progressively making our way towards equality. Unfortunately, we haven’t quite reached it yet. Gender discrimination and sexist ideologies slowly make their way through our school locker rooms, into our classrooms, across our halls, and most tragically, into our homes. Do we really focus on fixing these issues from youth through education, or are the government and media just letting these problems run their course?
The key thing to focus on is the barriers still present in society that are preventing us from reaching true equality. Search for famous female figures in Australia and the struggles they had to overcome solely based on their gender like Julia Gillard, Grace Tame and Nicole Kidman. Moreover, in a country as advanced and progressive as Australia, why are hundreds of women continuing to be murdered in domestic abuse disputes? It’s these terrifying statistics that demonstrate how far we have to go as a country, and how quickly we need action.
2. Addressing the ‘Climatic Catastrophe’ is being hindered by climate scepticism and multimillion-dollar corporations
Climate change. A buzzword for the top problem of the future. Even now, we’re feeling the terrible effects of the heating climate - floods, droughts and life-changing bush fires that have misplaced thousands of Aussies. A problem this big should require immediate action, right?
Well, two things are preventing us from slowing the changing climate and growing emissions. Firstly, Australia is clearly over-reliant on the coal industry. It is our top export after all, and our mining industry always proves to be a ‘booming success’. Not to mention the several ‘generous’ donations provided from multimillion-dollar fuel corporations to several of our own government parties.
Secondly, there seems to be certain online rhetoric that perpetuates false information. Otherwise known as ‘climate scepticism’, there are people who genuinely believe that climate change is a ‘hoax’ and not worth the time or effort to address. Think about the impact that the spreading of this misinformation can do.
3. Are we too reliant on fossil fuels?
The Russian war against Ukraine has had several terrible impacts across the world, affecting countries that weren’t even involved in the conflict to begin with. You may have heard your parents complain about the soaring fuel prices, or even had to cash out almost double for petrol yourself. The main reason for this is Australia’s reliance on fuel imports from Russia, which have quite obviously been disrupted.
This brings forward an important question, are we too reliant on fossil fuels as a nation? Imagine if we had made the switch to electric cars even just a few years earlier. I have a feeling our transport situation would be significantly better. Think about the policies we would need to introduce to become greener and more self-sufficient.
4. Indigenous injustices and deaths in custody are still being ignored
WARNING: This topic contains descriptions and the name of a recently deceased Indigenous person.
Veronica Nelson, a 37-year-old Indigenous woman, died whilst in custody after calling out 40 times for help from prison staff while being tragically ignored. Her unjust death evaded all sorts of media attention until her recent coroner’s report was revealed. According to doctors, if she had simply received medical attention that night, she would still be here with us today. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated issue.
Hundreds of reports of police brutality, deaths in custody and compliant media sources have been covered up or callously ignored. Take a look at the recent Royal Commission into the almost 500 Indigenous deaths in custody. What can we do as a nation to prevent further harm to our First Nation People?
5. Are social media ‘influencers’ skewing our perceptions of reality?
There’s no denying it, social media is one of the most influential platforms across the world. We often look towards celebrities and new ‘influencers’ for inspiration, life advice and familiarity. Especially coming out of the pandemic, these influencers have been a source of comfort for many during lockdowns. Unfortunately, lives are easy to fake and we are left wondering whether the people we look up to in the social media world are creating unrealistic expectations for us. Are they gaining profit at the expense of our mental health, or do they genuinely care for human connection?
6. Overconsumption in the fashion world: SHEIN, Fashion Nova and more
Online shopping is becoming our new reality, but rapidly growing fashion trends have led to mass production and inhumane outsourcing of labour. Think about the new fast fashion outlets that opened in Melbourne. Should we really be giving a retail platform to businesses that exploit workers and tailors, consistently produce poor-quality clothes and contribute to extensive land pollution? We’ve experienced huge clothing turnover over the past decade, contributing to one of our biggest land-fill issues at the moment. The emphasis on the constant need for more ‘trendy’ pieces results in items of clothing being poorly produced and going ‘out of fashion’ faster and consequently getting thrown out at the end of a new season. Fast fashion is an affordable option for many, but it comes at a cost of underpaid labour and pollution. How can society work towards finding the middle ground, so that everyone benefits and more importantly, what individual efforts can be made to ensure this?
7. Alcohol consumption amongst youths is becoming increasingly normalised
Everyone knows about the impact of alcohol on the body and mind, especially when it is consumed under age. Yet, binge drinking in Australia is a common weekend occurrence for students and is constantly normalised at social gatherings. Turning 18 and officially becoming an adult is exciting for many because of the prospect of finally being able to legally purchase and consume alcohol. However, even now, the long-term effects of alcohol have been proven to be the same as certain drugs and yet, it is heavily marketed by various companies, particularly to young Australians (Cassidy, 2021).
Many healthcare professionals stress that we need to work on reducing the culture of heavy drinking in Australia by increasing awareness of the genuine dangers. Think about ways in which we can do this that are different from what we have in place already.
8. The treatment of Ukraine vs. the Middle East/Sri Lankan/Asian refugees
When the war began in Ukraine, it rightfully caused worldwide outrage. Countries pledged artillery, medical aid and further security assistance for those fighting and opened their borders to Ukrainian refugees. However, during numerous conflicts in the Middle East, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, the world remained silent. The irony lies too within our own government, which was quick to reprimand Russia during the war and willingly state Australia will accommodate Ukrainian refugees, yet sends all other refugees that arrive in Australia to Christmas Island, or back home. There was, and still is, a difference in the treatment of vulnerable people that has long been tied into prolonged systematic racism, and it is still not being addressed.
9. ‘Financial influencers’ are damaging people’s lives and careers
We’ve all seen it online, across Facebook and TikTok. ‘Financial influencers’ that can ‘turn you into a millionaire’ as long as you invest in their 12-step monetised plan for monetary freedom. For the most part, it is unsupported financial advice from online influencers who don’t have any qualifications. They cover bitcoin, cryptocurrency and ‘NFTs’ on social media, mainly encouraging people to quit their jobs and fully focus on the stock markets. Whilst some people have given out genuinely helpful and accessible advice, most end up teaching teenagers and young adults the wrong information, or strategies that have a low chance of success. We have a duty to protect people online, and adults making unsupported gambles with their finances is going against that. A good place to start would be to find out the real-life experiences of people who have lost money and stability as a result of this ‘advice’.
10. Social media has led to growing desensitisation and a lack of human empathy
The internet can be a place of joy and entertainment, allowing us to connect with people across the world and have access to endless information. Unfortunately, it is also a dark space filled with unregulated content that can be easily accessed. We’ve seen mass shootings, suicides and other disturbing material live streamed, exposing us to the worst acts of human nature. There are even those with a ‘morbid curiosity’ who purposefully try and find this content. Continued exposure to this type of content results in more desensitisation towards this material. If we continue this path, are the majority going to lack empathy towards others? Have a look at the wider effects of this type of content on the development of the brain.
11. The gaps in our labour market are only going to grow without rapid action
Over the past year, we have had some of the worst gaps in the labour market. There have been shortages in some of the most essential positions such as nursing, teaching, paramedics and 000 operators. The low wages and stressful nature of the jobs have made it difficult to find enough people willing to enter those job sectors. However, they are vital for our society to function, so how come nothing has yet been introduced to rapidly fix these shortages? Currently, we are out-sourcing labour, but this isn’t a long-term solution and we need to ensure that we don’t experience these problems in the future.
12. Vaccine privilege
Over the past few years, especially in Australia and the USA, we have noticed an increasing trend in people refusing vaccines (COVID and others) due to growing anti-vax sentiments. Despite the plethora of evidence online that discusses the benefits and heavy testing that vaccines have and continue to undergo, people still claim that they do more harm than good. Moreover, it has now been noted that we now have a surplus of vaccines within Australia because of our vaccine hoarding during the middle of the pandemic.
Yet, there are still people across the globe who are dying from various illnesses due to their country’s inability to afford or get access to vaccines. It is now our responsibility to ensure nothing like this happens again in the future, by finding ways to reduce these inequities and tackle vaccine privilege.
13. Our personal data, information and finances are becoming increasingly exposed
This might seem like a bold statement to make, but imagine the sheer level of data that you store online or on your phone. There’s GovID data that is simply stored on your phone that contains information about your entire identity, facial recognition technology that is used everywhere (biotech), cameras and fingerprint access everywhere. The debate is extremely two-sided, with increased cyber protection assisting in solving crimes and preventing identity fraud, but with the growing level of cybercrimes, we’re also put at risk.
What side are you taking?
See Topics From Past Years: