Satirist John Clarke wins prestigious President’s Award

Thursday 22 November, 2007

John Clarke today won The Cancer Council Victoria's prestigious President's Award for his ongoing commitment to the fight against cancer.

The Cancer Council President's Award is given annually to a community member who has made an outstanding contribution to cancer control in Victoria. Mr Clarke was named the 2007 winner in recognition of more than a decade of outstanding service in cancer advocacy at a ceremony at The Arts Centre in Melbourne.

The Cancer Council Victoria President, Mr Peter Griffin, said Mr Clarke's leadership and dedication has had a substantial impact on public awareness of cancer education and prevention.

"Mr Clarke provides an essential contribution to the Cancer Council by promoting the key health messages to the Victorian public," Mr Griffin said. "He has donated his time and energy to countless Cancer Council projects over the last decade - one of the most successful being the Cigarette Recall in 2002.

This mass media campaign was a pungent satire on the unethical characteristics of the tobacco industry executives. It consisted of an adaptation of the April Fool's television commercial and aimed to stimulate community debate about the conduct and regulation of the tobacco industry.

"The Cigarette Recall campaign message about moral and social responsibility would not have cut so deep without Mr Clarke's contribution," Mr Griffin said.

Speaking at the ceremony Mr Clarke said he was honoured to receive the award for work he found very gratifying.

"What has kept me involved with the Cancer Council for so many years is the sense of satisfaction in making a real difference in the fight against this dreadful disease."

"I have had an amazing opportunity to help educate people in cancer prevention and in turn save lives. The fact that people have had a laugh in the process is just a bonus," he said.

Other examples of John Clarke's contributions to the Cancer Council include:

  • Patron of The Cancer Council Arts Awards (previously known as Daffodil Day Arts Awards), which invites entrants to share their cancer experience through creative expression.
  • Attendance at the Cancer Council's fundraising events and media conferences. On occasions where other commitments prevented Mr Clarke from attending, he would often pre-record a message to show his support.
  • Appearances in the Cancer Council's promotional advertisements. Mr Clarke has written many scripts that have been used in Cancer Council television and radio commercials.