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Defence Honours & Awards

General Information

Questions and Answers


Applications

How do I apply for medals?

How do I apply as Next-of-Kin?

How long will my application take to process?

Due to the high volume of applications, it may take up to 16 weeks before you receive an outcome from your application. This time will allow Defence to research historical documents, seek approval from the delegate, and to engrave and dispatch awards.

Receive Medals

How will I receive medals?

Medal are dispatched through the post by Registered Mail. Medals cannot be sent to a PO Box.

For current serving members, medals are sent to their unit as shown on PMKeyS.

Australian Defence Medal

Who is eligible?

The Australian Defence Medal seeks to recognise the service of members of the Australian Defence Force, past and present, who have made a commitment to our nation's security.

Accordingly, the medal will be awarded to Regular and Reserve Force members who have completed their initial enlistment period or four years service, whichever was the lesser, since World War II with service backdated from 3 September, 1945.

Eligibility for the medal extends to those personnel who:

  • died in service,
  • were medically discharged (based upon individual circumstances), or
  • left the service due to a Defence workplace policy of the time. (For example, in the past a woman was required to resign on marriage.)

How far will the medal be backdated?

The time frame for eligibility for the Australian Defence Medal will be backdated until the end of World War II (3 September 1945). Any four years service completed after that date will be considered eligible service. The medal will also be awarded posthumously to the families of eligible deceased members.

Are National Servicemen eligible?

Yes. Completion of a full National Service obligation will qualify for the Australian Defence Medal.

Does the Gap Year Scheme count towards the Australian Defence Medal?

How do I apply?

Ex-Serving Members

Applications are avilable here

It is important that applicants provide proof of service with their application. This can include a certified true copies of Certificates of Service or Discharge Certificates or any other official documents which confirm the length of service.

Ex-serving personnel who do not have certificates of service or other supporting documentation, should not contact Central Army Records Office, Navy records or RAAF records. Their applications should be submitted to DH&A, who will contact the service archives on behalf of applicants.

Permanent Members

Most current serving full-time members will be assessed using automated reports from PMKeyS. As not all permanent members are captured through this process it may be necessary to submit an application.

Reserve Members

Reserve members must sumbit an application.

Reserve members, who have previously been awarded a long service award for fifteen or more years service will still need to apply. This will ensure current contact and address details are recorded by DH&A for dispatch of the medal.

Eligibility

How are new medals introduced?

See paragraph 2.20 of Chapter 2 of the Defence Honours and Awards Manual.

How are the eligibility criteria determined for the various medals and clasps?

The qualifying conditions for a medal or a clasp to a medal are decided after consideration of the particular operation by appropriate authorities. These conditions, when approved, are published as a determination which becomes the authority for establishing eligibility.

Can I have a decision reviewed?

Yes. Defence encourages individuals to apply for an internal review of its decision prior to an individual lodging an application for a review with the independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal.

For more information, click here.

Long Service Medals

What are the eligibility criteria for the various long service awards?

The qualifying conditions for long service awards are detailed in the regulations for the awards.

Long service awards are defined in the Letters Patent establishing the awards. Details of long service awards are also available from www.itsanhonour.gov.au

Who is eligible for the National Medal?

The National Medal may be awarded to ADF personnel who completed 15 years qualifying service with at least one day of that period on or after 14 February 1975 with the qualifying period completed before 20 April 1982.

See also Defence Honours and Awards Manual Chapter 31 National Medal.

View Progress

Serving members can view award progress under ‘My Qualifications’ in PMKeyS Self Service.

Permanent Members

PMKeyS captures and reports information relating to most permanent ADF members. The system produces lists of personnel who have reached a long service medal milestone, and have not already received an award.

Members with broken or transferred service do not appear on the lists and must submit an application.

Reserve Members

Assessing reserve service for long service awards can be time-consuming. There are a range of qualifying requirements depending on the period and service. Assessments require manual gathering of hard copy data.

Members should provide details such as training days, parades and camps attended for each year of service by enlistment year.

Members with broken or transferred service are not identified on the PMKeyS Reports used to assess long service awards. These members should submit an application.

Timeframes

It is not possible for medals to be available for presentation on the day the milestone is reached. Members must complete the required period of service before an assessment can be made.

Sufficient time is required to process applications, research service history, seek approval from the Governor-General, update systems, and engrave and dispatch the awards. In most cases, approval will occur several weeks following the long service milestone.

As of April 2017, DH&A are establishing new processes to assess long service awards in a new IT system. This has delayed the assessment process.

DH&A will update member's PMKeyS records as soon as possible. Serving members can view award progress under ‘My Qualifications’ in PMKeyS Self Service.

Long Service Awards made to Australians since 1975

Before the introduction of the Australian system of honours and awards, Australian personnel received Imperial long service awards.

Initially the National Medal was introduced within the Australian system to replace all existing Imperial long service and good conduct medals, not only for the ADF but for members of other uniformed services such as police and ambulance personnel as well. In 1982 the National Medal was replaced for ADF personnel by a group of awards to uniquely recognise ADF service:

The Committee of Inquiry into Defence Related Awards (CIDA) of 1994 noted some anomalies arising from having separate awards for particular categories of service and recommended that a single long service award be introduced for all members of the ADF. In 1998 a new long service award, the Defence Long Service Medal (DLSM) was introduced. Members who qualified for the earlier Defence Force Service Awards (DFSA) were given the option of continuing to accumulate service towards clasps to those awards or replacing them with the DLSM. The latter option allowed members with a mix of service in the various categories who may not have received a medal or clasps to reflect that service to have their total service recognised.

Found Medals

I have found / been given a medal. Who was the recipient?

Most medals have recipient details such as service number, name and initials engraved on the reverse or on the edge.

The medal may be passed to an ex-service organisation such as the RSL who will attempt to return the medal to the recipient or the recipient's family.

Wearing

Order of Wear

Medals are worn in the position notified by the Governor-General in The Order of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards.

Am I allowed to wear replica medals?

There are no implications resulting from wearing replicas of award to which a person is entitled.

Some people prefer to wear replicas and keep their originals protected from loss or damage.

Can I wear another person's medals?

Allowance is made for family members of a deceased recipient to wear that person's medals on commemorative occasions such as Anzac Day. When worn by others, the usual protocol recommended is that the medals are worn on the right side to show that the wearer is not the original recipient.

How do I report someone for fraudulently wearing a medal?

Fraudulent wear of medals is an offence under The Defence Act 1903 , an act of the Commonwealth of Australia. Known or suspected cases of fraudulent medal wearing should be reported to the Australian Federal Police.

Foreign Awards

What is the translation of 'Pingat Jasa Malaysia'?

The literal translation is Malaysian Merit Medal.

Miniatures

Why didn't I receive a miniature with my medal?

The Imperial system issues the major piece only but permission is given for the production of miniature medals that may be purchased by recipients of those awards.

Awards in the Australian system are always issued with a miniature insignia as part of a boxed set.

When are miniature medals worn?

As a general practice, miniature orders, decorations and medals are worn with evening dress.

Replacements and Replicas

Can I apply for replacement medals?

Can I purchase replacement medals from the Department?

Replacement medals are not available for sale by the Directorate of Honours and Awards. High quality replicas are available for purchase from a range of sources.

Where can I purchase replica medals?

Replicas may be purchased from a range of sources such as coin and medal dealers, medal mounters and a number of online manufacturers of replica medals.

How do I exchange broken or damaged medals?

Medals that have been broken or damaged may be returned to Defence Honours and Awards for assessment. If this damage is considered to be caused by factors beyond the control of the recipient, the damaged medals will be replaced. In this case, the engraving details on the replacement medals will not include the 'D' which is added to replacements for lost originals.

Medals of deceased recipients will not be replaced under any circumstances.

Badges and Medallions

Who is eligible for the Infantry Combat Badge and the Army Combat Badge?

The Infantry Combat Badge (ICB) and the Army Combat Badge (ACB) are dress embellishments issued by the Army to identify those who have served in combat. The ICB is generally restricted to members of the Royal Australian Infantry Corps.

How do I replace flying badges and hat badges?

Badges worn on uniform are the responsibility of the particular service and all questions relating to the wearing or replacement of these items should be directed to the service headquarters. Internet contacts are provided in the links section.

Medal Mounting and Cleaning

Where can I get medals mounted?

Medal mounting services can be provided from medals dealers whose details may be found under the medals section of the Yellow Pages.

How can I clean medals?