It’s an Honour – Reflections

The 2020 Order of Australia lecture will be delivered by Admiral (Ret) Chris Barrie AC. 

Presented in partnership with the Order of Australia Association (OAA) ACT Branch and The Australian National University. 

"In my career I had the opportunity to recommend many people for an Australian honour, and at the end of my career participate for four years in the selection process. There were many occasions when I wondered about the worth of an honours system - sometimes in a sceptical frame of mind and sometimes enthusiastically.

In my public life I have met very many Australians whose stories have impressed on me the worth of an honours system that recognises excellence and achievement in appropriate ways. But, this question of what might constitute "an apppropriate way" deserves deep consideration. It would be good to see an Australian honours system that evolves to address changing community standards and yet is representative of the broad sweep of endeavours that makes Australians unique.

In my view these are aspects about the contemporaneous system for Australian honours that the Order of Australia Association can address by playing a valuable role in having the foresight to keep the system under review and possessing the foresight to build on it in meaningful ways.

The purpose of my talk is to elaborate on some of the issues I have seen played out and to ask some questions about "an appropriate way" for this new Century and our honours system. I will use reflections and stories to illustrate the difficulties of obtaining the right balance in our community."

Admiral Chris Barrie AC commanded all arms of the Defence Force as its Chief (CDF) from1998 till 2002. After this, Chris worked on strategic leadership as a consultant, teacher and mentor, initially through Oxford University's Strategic Leadership and Stimulus Forum Programs (2002-2011); and as Distinguished Visiting Professor he also taught an elective on Strategic Leadership to senior U.S. military officers at the National Defense University in Washington DC from 2004 till 2010.

He is busy now as the founder and Chair of PTSD-Australia New Zealand, whose subsidiary "FearLess Outreach" is intended to assist an estimated 6 million people in the Australian and New Zealand communities, who live with post-traumatic stress. "FearLess" held a very successful national conversation on PTSD in August 2019 in Caloundra, on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Admiral Barrie is an Honorary Professor at Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Coral Bell School of Asia-Pacific Affairs at The Australian National University. He works in the Tuckwell Foundation and is Chair of the Kioloa Coastal Campus Commission. He teaches occasionally on campus and at the Australian Command and Staff College. He conducts demanding scenario exercises and simulations to complement course work.

He is an outspoken commentator on Climate Change and Security using community advocacy to raise awareness of the potential costs of inaction. Chris is also the Australian member of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC), and an adjunct member of the Planetary Security.