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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 8, No. 8 June 27, 1945


With a long overdue decline in more pressing activities on the Extravaganza front the Debating Society has launched itself once mote. The Annual General Meeting was held on Friday, June 8, and was followed by a debate, "That all lands other than Sovereign States should be under International control." On June 15 the subject was "That the New Zealand law relating to capital punishment should be repealed." Both these meetings were only moderately attended and the dialectical standard was poor to average. General comment: More vital topics would make it easier for the speakers to develop what ability they may happen to possess; more adequately prepared speeches would save the audience from a frozen boredom, and more precise definition of the subject would benefit speakers, audience, judges and "Salient" reporters.

Opening the first debate Miss Patrick defined her terms only to the extent that she announced her intention to use the word "colonies" to cover "all lands other than," etc. Her main argument was the appalling conditions which prevail in so many colonies and so-called protectorates at the present day and the enormous incomes derived from them by the protectors. Her debating style is pleasant and convincing if slightly too informal. A more critical audience would be able to undermine her confidence too easily.

The leading speaker for the negative was Mr. O'Brien. His usual fluency, combined with his unusual speed, was a little breath-taking; while it enabled him to present a wealth of argument, it caused him to lose much of the effect he could have attained by a more leisurely and detailed exposition.

Mr. J. Williams, seconding Miss Patrick, gave some constructive ideas on the subject by outlining a scheme for an International Council. He claimed that this was an Improvement on anything so far put forward at San Francisco. He lacks debating vigour but has sufficient lucid argument and poise to demand attention.

Mr. Palmer, seconding the negative, considered that the UNCIO Conference is a San Fiasco, and that the only attempt so far at international control of colonies, the Con-Dominion in the New Hebrides, could be better described as a pandemonium. He was strong in the attack, but occasionally seemed to lose the thread of his argument.

The Judge was Mrs. D. C. Bates. In her criticism of the speakers she appealed for more attention to the formalities of debating, and for better exposition of argument. She was pleased to note a considerable improvement since she last judged a debate here a year ago.