Regular On Line Opinion contributor Don Allan has died. An obituary was published in the Canberra Times yesterday, and he gave a preview of his death on his own blog under the title “My death has been suspended (temporarily)“.
Don was an interesting contributor – you could never be sure what position he would take, nor how broadly acceptable that position might be. I found out in his CT obituary that at one time he ran a strip club – I wouldn’t have guessed that either.
I recall having some fact-checking discussions with him, which are rare with On Line Opinion because we publish opinion. But when opinion comes from an amateur in an expert field, and that opinion is likely to be widely challenged, some checking is in order. Not only does it save our reputation, but it doesn’t harm the reputation of the contributor.
In Don’s case his interest was in nuclear fusion, a technology that has been promising much in the area of stationary energy for 50 years and failing to deliver (except in the form of solar energy where it powers everything you can see).
Strangely he never wrote for us about disability, despite being award a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to people with disabilities, of which he was one.
Hopefully there will be some more Don Allans out there, ready to fill the void in Aussie opinion.
Indeed, Don has posthumously give us a reference. As the reader who alerted me to his death told me this morning “Don spoke positively of Online Opinion and loved the deeper discussion that is missing so much in public debate these days.” Amen to that.