The "Order of Australia Medal" Award to Clem Campbell

Clement Bernard Campbell, who coordinates the Earth Charter Australia Committee, was recently awarded the “Order of Australia Medal“, there will be an investiture in September, at Government House.

This award is conferred by the Australian Governor General and is the pre-eminent way Australians recognize the achievements and service of their fellow citizens. Nominations come directly from the community. Once a nomination is submitted, the Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat at Government House in Canberra conducts further research and contacts referees. Nominations are considered by the Council for the Order of Australia which makes recommendations direct to the Governor-General.

Dr. Noel Preston, an ethicist and Professor of Griffith University nominated Clem for this award.  This award not only recognizes Clem’s dedication and actions, but also the Earth Charter Project in this country.

The following is the nominating statement that Dr.Noel Preston wrote. 

( Nominating statement for Award in the Order of Australia)
by Dr Noel Preston AM


Clem Campbell is nominated for an award within the Order of Australia because of his significant contribution to the community, in particular for his contributions toward peace and environmental education and leadership in encouraging ethics in public life. Since 1998 when he retired from the Queensland State Parliament at the age of 50, his numerous endeavours have predominantly been undertaken in a voluntary capacity. Indeed, in this respect, the trajectory of his public contribution differs from that of others of his peers, many of whom (understandably) establish new careers with considerable remuneration making use of their experience as members of government. This nomination is based on recognition of that dedicated and sustained voluntary contribution over 15 years since his retirement from Parliament.

However, Clem Campbell’s notable public service dates back at least to 1983 when he was elected to the Queensland Parliament as the Member for Bundaberg. During his 15 years as an MP he was Chairman of Committees in the period of the Goss government. In 1995 he was elected the first Chairman of the newly established Members’ Ethics and Parliamentary Privileges Committee. He led this Committee in the early crucial phase of research and public hearings, submissions and  initial reporting to Parliament. This resulted, after his retirement, in the adoption of a Code for Members and other supporting measures (such as an education program for new MPs and the eventual establishment of  the Office of Integrity Commissioner), all of which has made the Queensland public sector ethics  regime a leader amongst Australian jurisdictions.

It was his contribution to ethics in public life which established my working and personal relationship with Clem.  Public sector ethics was at the heart of my work as a senior academic, first at Queensland University of a Technology and then Griffith University. Clem assisted me in research (acknowledged in several of my publications eg. Australian Journal of Political Science, Vol.36, No.1, pp.45-59) and in the organisation of Symposia and Conferences at QUT and then through the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance at Griffith University. Since my retirement from Griffith University in 2001 he has continued to be a resource as a presenter and  organiser, sometimes in international programs and forums, organized through the GU Key Centre.

In various capacities I have observed over the past 15 years how he has also made an outstanding contribution to peace and environmental education not only within Queensland but also nationally. Initially this was via his association with the Earth Charter initiative, (a global ethics focus and statement covering social justice and environmental goals which stemmed from the 1992 Rio Conference organised by the United Nations. See ).

In 2001 Clem was the organiser of the three day Asia Pacific Earth Charter Conference in Brisbane attended by 350 delegates from sixteen nations across our region and from countries as diverse as Nepal and Fiji. (I was the Chair of that international conference.) For more than a decade since that date, Clem has been an Australian representative (sometimes at his own expense)   at international and local Earth Charter events and strategically, via the Eco-Centre at Griffith University.  His leadership of the Earth Charter in Queensland led to his participation in 2006 in Earth Dialogues (chaired by the Queensland Premier, the Brisbane Lord Mayor and Mikhail Gorbachev of Green Cross International). Subsequently, Clem was a key participant in the process which created Green Cross Australia. Since its inception (in 2007) Clem has been a Director of this non-government organisation, and remains as the only one continuing from its inception.   His continuous participation in Green Cross Australia and the Earth Charter has since evolved into a key role with the Queensland branch of the United Nations Association Australia as its Vice-President and as a major organiser of the 2011 National Conference of the UNAA. In these associations he has singularly and effectively maintained an appropriate context for support of the Earth Charter in Australia.

Several examples of Clem’s outstanding role in promoting peace and environmental education are:

(a) the partnership he initiated with educator Louise Erbacher between Earth Charter Australia and Brink Adventures ( to develop environmental education curriculum materials based on the values and principles of the Earth Charter. Brink Adventures went on to win the International Earth Charter Award in 2005 for their contribution to education for sustainability.
(b) his leadership in the development of environmental education materials such as the Earth Charter for Children (2002, 2007), the endorsement of the Earth Charter by Education Queensland and its incorporation into the Queensland curriculum, and eventually as the basis for a values framework for state schools informing the online curriculum resources “Tomorrow’s Citizens” (during the period of the Beattie and Bligh Governments’ term of office).
(c)  his organising during 2009-10  of the EC+10 celebration (ten years since the international launch of the Earth Charter)  – securing funding, developing partnerships, arranging international and national guests – resulted in a very successful multi-faceted venture around Educational Forums for the School, Business and Community sectors.

Recently, in a partnership involving Griffith University, St John’s Cathedral, the UNAA and the Earth Charter, Clem has successfully initiated the Brisbane Peace Lecture, held on the United Nations International Day of Peace. The inaugural 2012 lecture was launched by the current Governor of Queensland. The lecturer, Ms Leneen Forde AC, Chancellor of Griffith University, was introduced by The Honourable Justice Margaret Mc Murdo AC. This annual initiative is an example of many peace and environmental events in the Queensland context which would not have occurred but for Clem Campbell. 

His leadership and voluntary endeavours (within non-government organisations) in peace and environment education since his retirement from Parliament make him a worthy nominee for an award within the Order of Australia.

Brief Timeline and CV of activities relevant to this nomination of Clement Bernard Campbell B.Agr.Sc. (University of Queensland)

1995-98 Chair and deputy Chair of the Queensland Parliamentary Members Ethics and Parliamentary Privileges Committee

2000-01 organising executive for the Asian Pacific Earth Charter Conference 2001

2002 (to present) Chair, Earth Charter Australia (Qld)

1998-2000 Queensland University of Technology research fellow on various ‘ethics in public life projects’

2001 -2011 research fellow in various ‘environmental ethics and public ethics projects’ Eco-Centre, Griffith University (GU) and Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance,GU

2010 (to present) Vice-President of the United Nations Association of Australia (Queensland)

2007 (to present) Director of Green Cross Australia

2011 (to present) Convenor, Brisbane Peace Lecture

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