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Melbourne should be the capital of Australia

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/18/2016 Category: Places-Travel
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,948 times Debate No: 89813
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)




Around 100 years ago, a hasty compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne declared Canberra as the capital of Australia. Today, Sydney is a bustling international city and is sometimes referred to as the capital by international tourists.

However, should Melbourne have been appointed capital in the first place and should it be reverted to the position of the Australian capital today. As the negative speaker, I disagree firmly with these points and believe that the capital of Australia should stay as it is today.

The capital of a nation needs to have space for embassies, lodgings for parliamentarians and obviously a parliament house itself. Melbourne and Canberra seem like the only cities with enough space to accommodate these facilities and so should be the main cities brought up within this debate.

My main reason in favour of Canberra is that the city is safer and more practical as a capital rather than Melbourne. Due to its large population and multicultural society, Melbourne has an increased chance of a terrorist attack than that of Canberra. By moving parliamentarians to a new capital in Melbourne, we are further baiting terrorist motives within our nation.

The capital of Australia should remain in Canberra. Thank you.


Thank you speaker of the negative side for introducing this topic and its relevance in society. I would also like to propose that the immediate change of Australia's capital city will begin advertising in the next six months. I believe the Parliament house in Canberra should not become obsolete in Australian politics, as the building and its features have been used since the mid-20th century. I suggest the facility in Melbourne become a secondary area for political matters. Melbourne will be known and recorded as the national capital of Australia by Australia Day, 2017. There will be no other physical modifications to Melbourne as the negative speaker has directed.

I must strongly disagree with the negative speaker's arguments and his current views on what a good capital city is as shown in his fourth paragraph.
I must firstly question the negative speaker's knowledge toward the subject of this debate as he has repeatedly used false information in attempts to back his case. His first major mistake was suggesting that Canberra is "safer and more practical as a capital city rather than Melbourne", this statement was not well founded as using polls and crime levels measured in both Melbourne and Canberra that show Melbourne's Safety index as 71.59 (1), one can gather that Melbourne's safety is considerably higher than Canberra's. This reliable source was taken from candidates around both the high and low socioeconomic areas of the city in day and night conditions, this information proves that not only was the negative speaker's information quite the opposite of fact, but that the speaker has used unreliable sources even in the early stages of the debate.
In another statement by the negative speaker he has suggested that "Melbourne has an increased chance of a terrorist attack...Due to its large multicultural society,". I completely disagree with this comment, and although we must all acknowledge that Australia has a 'Probable' chance of an attack (following the National Terrorism Threat Advisory System) we have to also see that this clarification looks at the entire country, and not only has the negative speaker failed to show a source to his information, but he has provided more misconceptions about multiculturalism that perhaps shows that the speaker knows little about the topic. If, as the negative speaker has suggested, multiculturalism is the cause for terrorist attacks, then we must assume that this speaker also believes that Canberra is a likely candidate for a probable terrorist attack in the future. This is proved by statistics carried out by The Canberra Times that show only 26.6% of people in the city regard themselves as having an Australian background (2). This differing culture level is similar in most states, meaning 'everywhere', according to the negative speaker, would be at risk of another attack.
I must also add that around the world multiculturalism is increasing in areas with varying terrorist threat probabilities, and therefore I must request that there should be no more reference of multiculturalism being a cause of possible terrorism or used negatively in this debate, as our modern society appreciates this varying culture in government, and life.

As the positive speaker, I agree strongly with the topics and themes of this debate. Melbourne has been largely classified as Australia's 'culture capital', and as this title describes, Melbourne puts the culture of Australia and the world in one city. I believe that as multiculturalism grows in the city, so will these titles. The rates of tourism in Melbourne are one of the highest in Australia and it is a very common misconception that Melbourne is Australia's national capital. I believe that with its great reputation and well know culture, as well as being in the top 5 places to go in Australia (3), Melbourne encompass what Australia needs as a capital.
Although it is a well-known fact that Canberra was purpose built to be a capital, what does this mean? There has not been any significant pushes for Canberra to advertise for tourism and the fact is, so many people across the world still assume Melbourne or Sydney are the capital cities. One would expect, after the time Canberra would grow to be more than a political hotspot, but I'm here today because it hasn't!

I define a capital city as a large well know city in a country that holds the key aspects and culture of that country. A capital city is safe and secure for visitors and the community. I believe that Canberra does not suit these characteristics to the extent that Melbourne does and therefore I believe that Melbourne should be changed to Australia's national capital.
Thank you.

Debate Round No. 1


The affirmative speaker has raised the impractical idea of changing the capital of Australia to Melbourne by January next year. This seems like a difficult task to achieve and one must wonder whether it would be worth the effort expensed. Overall, the affirmative stated that Melbourne was safe and multicultural. Is this enough motive to change the capital focus of an entire country? As the negative speaker, I think not.

The first rebuttal argument put forward by the negative stated that Melbourne has a safety index of 71.59 and that the city is considerably safer than Canberra. However, if Melbourne became the capital of Australia- it would most definitely become more dangerous. Statistics put forward by the affirmative display the safety situation of Melbourne currently but has the opposition even considered the statistics if their motions are put in place?

The affirmative immediately latched onto the words of 'multiculturalism' and 'terrorist' within my case. They made sure to refute my fictional views of multiculturalism leading to terrorist attacks. The intended purpose of my case was to specifically address the fact that Melbourne is a bigger city within our country. Looking through the eyes of a terrorist, big cities are ideal places to attack. By making Melbourne the new capital of Australia, the phrase I stated before ('baiting terrorist motives') becomes more valid.

After a rebuttal that failed to make substantial ground, the affirmative next tried to persuade us as to why Melbourne should be the capital of Australia. They said that Melbourne is Australia's culture capital and this is evidence as to why Australia should change it's capital to the multicultural city. The affirmative also stated that there have been no pushes for tourism in Canberra. Has the affirmative considered that there may be a reason behind this more than unpopularity? If capital cities were placed on the best points of interest within nations, why isn't the capital located at Uluru, on the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns or Sydney (to quote the affirmatives third citation)?

Canberra makes an ideal Australian capital because it is not filled with the tourism that can be found in Melbourne and the rest of these points of interest. Choosing a capital location away from the bustle of the major tourist cities but still within drivable distance was one the best decisions made by Australian politicians. Benefits of this decision were numerous and the positive effects can still be seen today.

Whilst nothing will exceed the tourism ranks of Sydney and Melbourne within our nation, the capital is still a must-visit on some tourist lists. By spreading out tourist hotspots across our nation and not jamming them into one city, we are building tourist travel via air, road and sea which greatly adds to our economy.

By making Melbourne the capital of Australia we would lose all of these social, financial and practical advances. Intuitive advances such as these are what define our country and hence (using the affirmative's definition) make Canberra an ideal capital for Australia. If the affirmative still has any doubts on the position of Canberra as capital they should research the cited website (1) which shows the rich history and important decisions behind the choosing of Canberra as our capital.

Australia is a wonderful country and currently has a developing capital with a bright future ahead of it. Thank you.



I must firstly address the negative speaker's repeated misconception and false information given in round 1 and 2. He has firstly instructed the audience that the imediete change of the capital city will not be worth the "effort expensed", i must remind the negative speaker of his guidelines for the debate, he stated that both "Melbourne and Canberra seem like the only cities with enough space to accomadate the these facilities..." This comment in itself dictates that the facilities needed in Melbourne are already avalibe, therefore no aditional costs to the city wil be required. If this, however isn't the case, then i ask the negative speaker, what additional facilities does a capital city require?
He next addressed my comment about multiculturalism and safety, this remark implied the negative speaker's futher lack of concern towards the subject. I once again question the negative speaker's reasoning for creating a debate about the possible movement of a capital city, if he doen't care for the safety or culture of a counrty. In my definition, i described a capital city of having both these features that are being overlooked by the negative speaker. So YES, negative speaker, I believe these are reasons enough.
Another term used in this sentance was "capital focus", this appears to suggest that the cost of taking the "focus" away from Canberra would be difficult for Australians and tourists to comprahend. I justafiably addressed this in my first arguement, by desplaying the common misconceptions by both tourists and Australians , that Melbourne, or even Sydney is infact the capital city. Therefore i feel if Canberra remained capital city, it would have to work on increased publicity, apposed to Melbourne. Once again we see the negative speaker unclear in his rebuttle due to a lack of knowledge or obvious concern for the issues of this debate.
Another statement by the negative speaker regarded the safety levels in Melbourne compared to Canberra. This suggested that because of statistics, that once again the negative speaker has failed to list or source, Melbourne will become less safe. I ask the negative speaker, what areas of safety is he referring to? Terrorism safety? Public wellbeing? If the former, I must remind the negative speaker that the terrorist threat in Australia refers to the entire country, therefore no additional threat will be directed at Melbourne if it does become capital city. If however, he was referring to public wellbeing, one must question how the movement of a capital city will effect this in any way. We cannot be sure of how either of these examples will change the safety levels in Melbourne as the negative team has failed to provide any evidence, therefore we must follow the obvious answer that no major change will effect the safety in Melbourne.
In the negative speaker's next paragraph, I noticed that he one again failed to explain why or how any of his statements are valid. I have repeatedly found much difficulty in seeing how, many of the negative speaker's arguements are accurate and therefore relevant in this debate when he has lacked in providing evidence for his case. I can't believe how the negative speaker can, for example, understand how a terrorist feels "big cities are ideal for places to attack." When he has provided zero proof towards this statement. How can we even believe the size of a city is anyway related to terrorist attacks when there has been no evidence put forward. Another example of when this has occured in the negative speakers most recent arguements was in his next statement, when he described Canberra as a less focused city in Australia, the speaker told us that was a good thing, once again failing to mention how this was the case in his argument. Later in round 2 he gave us a link to a website of which he described to be information enough, which I think is quite the opposite. The listing of a website should not count towards an argument in itself as material used in this source is under copyright, and should only be used as a point of reference, instead of the argument that the negative speaker has used.
The website link the negative speaker has suggested a point of reason for his case is a government site with a brief history of the area of Canberra including links to agriculture and indigenous, history as well as a very limited paragraph on the reasoning for the appointment of Canberra as capital city. During my filter through this source there were only three listed reasons for the construction of the 'purpose built parliamentary sector' on top of the two subheadings I have already mentioned. These were instructed to the surveyor for Canberra; "picturesque, distinctive, and with views." Along with the culture of the indigenous people and the agricultural past we should recognise that these features are common in most parts of Australia, therefore I believe that not only has the negative speaker claimed Canberra is special, but he has used common features to back up his arguments which clearly has failed to make any grounds to the subject.

Another comment made by the negative speaker asked "why isn't the capital located at Uluru, on the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns or Sydney?" And linked this directly to my remark towards Melbourne's tourism. This comment makes us see the obvious misconception the negative speaker has towards not only the themes and ideas behind the topic of this debate, but what makes a good capital city! I ask the negative team, would a great capital city not be a major hotspot that puts the culture and lifestyles into one city put on show to the world? Instead, would a great capital be jammed into a small, 'parliamentary hotspot' where Australia can be represented by a housing estate with a few tourists and some politicians? I think not!
Melbourne uses traditionally built buildings and fresh new designs to create a beautiful city that would represent Australia with dignity and pride. The culture of the city and the great history of booming agriculture and factories as well as a celebrated indigenous culture expresses the greatness of Australia in a place for the world to see. As the negative speaker has told us, Canberra is full of plentiful features that shows our brief parliamentary history, as well as modern touches of great importance to Australia. I do not believe that Canberra is not a great city, but so are the many other amazing places to visit and see as a tourist in our country, I believe that if we could, Australia would make a great capital city for itself, what I also believe this means is that our new capital city should do the same, put the entire country on spotlight to show off to the world in the form of one city. I also feel that although we are narrowed down to only two candidates for such a position in this debate, Australia is full of amazing places, although, I firmly believe that however purpose built Canberra may be, or how it's lack of tourism gives it a 'good name', Melbourne has the extensive character of our culture and the great reputation we, as a country, can pride ourselves on.
Melbourne should be capital of Australia!

I sincerely hope that the negative speaker understands the importance of such a capital city in our country and will not continue to rebut Melbourne because of its beautiful characteristics, as this only proves my point more.
Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


The essence of this debate seems to lie in the opinion of which city- Canberra or Melbourne- is better equipped to be the capital of Australia. Points raised by the affirmative in favour of Melbourne include:

- Melbourne is the 'cultural capital' of Australia
- It has a safety index of 71.59%
- Many tourists already consider Melbourne as the capital
- Melbourne is a city that will 'look good' to the rest of the world

Whilst these are majorly valid points, as the negative I firmly believe that these qualities are overshadowed by the benefits of the status quo of leaving Canberra as Australia's capital. Here are my main points for this.

- Canberra is more practical as a capital city than Melbourne as it has room due expand due to its location (1)
- Canberra is ideal for political facilities as it is not packed with tourism
- It acts as a link between the two major cities of Melbourne and Sydney
- The location of Canberra builds economic benefits via travelling tourists
- Canberra is still developing and has the potential to become an iconic world city
- All of the attributes of a great city mentioned in Citation 2 match the attributes of Canberra
- Canberra is a sustainable city (3)

Whilst most of the preliminary points mentioned above are self-explanatory, I will engage in further detail regarding the final two.

Citation two discusses a recent study of Australian's to see which city in our country was most 'liveable'. The criteria followed included aspects of city life such as urban design, lack of pollution, dining and entertainment, public transport, roads, safety, natural environment, education, healthcare, affordable housing, employment, standard of living, climate and a harmonious population. In the study of 5200 Australian citizens, Adelaide came in first with Canberra in second. Canberra performed well in all sectors of the criteria.

Canberra is a growing city. Whilst the designs of Melbourne are based on ideas formulated during the 19th century, designs for Canberra are being designed now. Problems such as urban design would not have influenced decisions of Melbourne city planners originally but they are constantly in the minds of Canberra designers today. Our world is changing and having a city in the process of expansion is exciting as it offers opportunities to turn Canberra into an international city.

Melbourne can attempt to expand and increase its innovativeness however problems are due to arise due to its older layout compared to Canberra. Whilst Melbourne has tried to build more roads, it has proved difficult due to its current design. More detail regarding this issue can be found in Citation 4.

A capital city needs to be liveable and able to adapt to a changing world. In short, Canberra can do this easily whereas Melbourne can only do it with difficulty.

Canberra is a sustainable city. An Estonian Expo surveyed tourists and their opinions on what makes a good city. The top five most voted answers were:

1. Low carbon urban transportation; Canberra has highly efficient public transport and numerous bike paths which are regularly used. TripAdvisor (5) goes as far as to call Canberra the site of the best public transport in Australia. Canberra is a healthy place to live and plays a role in reducing our global footprint.

2. Energy-efficient buildings; Canberra is an expanding and innovative city and passive design plays a large role in the construction of modern houses within new suburbs (1).

3. Durable buildings; Canberra has durable buildings that are safe and secure for residents. Canberra used to have a Safe House program implemented and this has definitely added to the safety of the city (6).

4. Access to healthy food; the affirmative has told us that Canberra is a multicultural city. Healthy food from around the world can be found in Canberra.

5. Renewable energy for cities; renewable energy is key for building our future. Canberra is developing renewable energy city-wide. Citation 7 shows the opening of a new wind farm in Canberra. Whilst there are calls for renewable energy in Melbourne, limited action has been taken.

Overall, Canberra makes an ideal city and furthermore capital. Is the title of 'cultural capital' enough motive to shift the capital of Australia away from such an iconic location to one further south in Melbourne?

The affirmative believes that a capital city must show off the nature of a country to the rest of the world. Australian's are innovators and we show off our innovation with a glorious city such as Canberra. Canberra is a fantastic city and should remain the location of Australia's capital. Thank you.

(1) Article by the Canberra Times providing an example of modern development in Canberra

(2) What makes Australia's Most Liveable City?

(3) The Global View: What makes a city sustainable?

(4) Problem with Melbourne and Public Transport

(5) TripAdvisor on Public Transport in Canberra

(6) Safe Houses in Canberra

(7) New Wind Farm in Canberra


Lily.l forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


finn.b14 forfeited this round.


Lily.l forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


The opposition has forfeited the last two rounds of debate. Hopefully they will come back for the final round to conclude this debate. In case they do not, here is a summary of my major points within this debate.

- The two main candidates for Australia's capital are the status quo of Canberra and the city of Melbourne. As the negative, I firmly believe that Canberra is much better equip to be the capital than Melbourne.
- It would take too much effort to move the capital for such little benefits.
- Canberra is not a huge tourist destination which makes it more practical for political purposes. Even so, it spreads out the tourist destinations within our country which boost our economy.
- Canberra also acts as a link between the two major cities of Sydney and Melbourne
- The city of Canberra is always expanding and developing. It has vast amounts of land to do this in whereas Melbourne (a relatively old city) does not
- Potential to become an iconic world power location lies in Canberra
- Canberra is a sustainable city
-Canberra meets all the attributes of a great city mentioned in the 2nd citation of my last argument.

Thank you.


Lily.l forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by finn.b14 6 years ago
Cheers @thebestdebate
Posted by thebestdebate 6 years ago
Cool debate!
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