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The Great Debate

Gareth Richards



In fine Orientation tradition, on Tuesday night MPs and other celebrities will stand up in public with the express intent to insult and defame eachother, reports Gareth Richards.
Each year the Victoria University Debating Society’s Great Debate brings together a diverse bunch of politicians, funny people and reasonably well known regional entities and puts them on a stage. The result is usually as eclectic as the personalities involved with some cringing, maybe some tears and definitely lots of laughs.
In a desperate attempt to ensure that the speakers don’t just talk about what they want we’ll throw a topic in. In past years we’ve ripped off beer slogans but this year we’ve decided to return to some of our roots and we’ve stolen a song title. It has been nearly thirty years since John Morrison Clarke aka Fred Dagg donned a pair of gumboots, a black singlet and some very short shorts and told us ‘We don’t know how lucky we are.’ So this year Vic Debsoc has called a few people together to argue over whether or not we are do know just how fortunate we are.
You’ll see six speakers divided into two teams of three. Given the debate topic’s roots we thought it only apt to involve New Zealand’s brand new 100% local content radio station Kiwi FM (formerly Channel Z). From the Beehive we have Wellington Central MP and Minister of Environment Marian Hobbs. To balance things out we have an Opposition MP; Deborah Coddington from the Act Party. Finally to ensure that the night does have those laughs promised we bring in some professionals in the form of local stand up comedians.
Tickets are now available. We’ll be selling them on the Monday and Tuesday of orientation week and you can also pick them up at the door on your way in.
Vic’s DebSoc is traditionally one of the strongest debating societies in the country. We run an internal competition within our own club and take part in external grades here in Wellington, as well as sending contingents of people to a variety of national and international tournaments each year. This year, DebSoc gives you the opportunity to compete, trainee adjudicate or simply spectate at Easter Tournament at AUT, Winter Tournament at Otago, Australasians in Brisbane or Worlds in Dublin!
We also run a weekly club night on Wednesdays here on campus, which may involve debating, movie-watching, beer-drinking or watching more experienced members of the society make complete dicks out of themselves (always fun). To join or for more information, look out for our stall in the Quad during Orientation or chat to someone at the the Great Debate.
Debating is fun, challanging, a great way to blow off steam and looks impressive on your CV. If you want to know what it’s all about, the Great Debate… probably isn’t the best way to learn to debate, but it is a night of guaranteed hilarity. It will also give you the opportunity to meet lots of people who can tell you more about debating and DebSoc, on of the biggest, longest established and most social clubs at Vic. See you there!