I spoke in Parliament today about the late ABC journalist Alan Saunders, a polymath of the airwaves. My radio listening will be poorer for his passing.
Alan Saunders - 18 June 2012
ABC’s Radio National is one of Australia’s great public institutions, and I rise to speak about the late Alan Saunders, who died unexpectedly last Friday. Alan Saunders spent 25 years with Radio National. He moved to Australia in 1981 to pursue research at the Australian National University’s History of Ideas unit, where he received a PhD. He received the Pascall Prize for critical writing and broadcasting in 1992. He contributed to programs about food, design and philosophy. As Amanda Armstrong put it:
‘He was equally at home talking about Plato, the role of vampires in popular culture or the history of the restaurant. He wrote like an angel, and had a deep knowledge of music, among many other areas, including philosophy, gastronomy, architecture, design and film.’
I knew Alan Saunders mostly as a listener – delighting particularly in the By Design program – although I did get a chance to speak with him on Australia Day last year about social capital and some of the ideas in Disconnected. The topics to which Alan contributed are important. Others, such as Elizabeth Farrelly and Tim Soutphommasane, discuss design and philosophy, but none so gracefully as Alan. He will be greatly missed.