Defence reviews of honours

This information provides assistance to applicants applying for a review in relation to Defence honours decisions. Applicants seeking a review of a specific service or campaign medal will be advised of the process when they receive an outcome of the assessment of their medal application.

Review process

Defence may review matters where a nominee’s service, action or performance meets the conditions for a Defence honour from the following categories:

  • Gallantry, Distinguished and Conspicuous Service Decorations
  • Unit Citations.

Applicants should present an argument based on the conditions for the award of the honour within the relevant medal regulations and supported by sufficient evidence as detailed below.

An opinion or a comparison made with other awards or potential awards is not sufficient to support the conduct of a review of a Defence honour.

If relevant, the application should include any evidence that the honours system failed to function appropriately at the time of the action, service or performance.

Consistent with the timeframes associated with the review powers of the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal, Defence will only review applications for Defence honours for service prior to 3 September 1939 in exceptional circumstances. Decisions regarding service prior to 3 September 1939 cannot be reviewed by the Tribunal.

Applications received from, or relating to, current serving Australian Defence Force members will be referred to the respective Service or Joint Operations Command for consideration.

Evidence and information required

Applicants must supply sufficient and substantive evidence for the individual case.

The application should include good quality (readable) and certified copies of any documentary evidence to support the claims. Original documents should not be included.

The application must be:

  • relevant (it must directly relate to the case)
  • authoritative (it must be derived from official records and not be anecdotal or an opinion)
  • objective (free from prejudice or bias).

Accepted forms of evidence include:

  • eyewitness statements, appropriately signed and dated by the witness
  • policy and/or decision documents that support the claim
  • copies of recommendations or citations for the individual/s relating to the cited action or service
  • copies of research papers or book extracts, where the source research is identified
  • documents held by the Australian War Memorial, National Archives of Australia and/or within private records.
Item Detail
Requested honour or suite of honours
  • Identify what honour is being sought. The application should address the conditions for the award of the identified honour as described by the relevant regulations. The applicant may instead identify a suite of honours (gallantry, distinguished service or conspicuous service decorations) for which they are seeking recognition. 
  • If selecting a suite of honours, the applicant should address the conditions for each of the relevant honours included in that suite. Refer to:
Consent
  • If an application is submitted on behalf of another person, the applicant is required to identify the relationship with that person.
  • Additionally, if not part of the immediate family, the applicant is required to confirm that the person nominated (or immediate family if the member is deceased) has consented to an application being submitted on their behalf.
Details of the action
  • Describe:
    • What happened?
    • the specific action and the circumstances
    • Where and when it happened?
  • Provide official records to confirm details.
The ‘Who’
  • Provide details on
    • Who else was involved?
    • Who witnessed the action? (provide witness statements to confirm actions)
  • Provide official records to confirm events
  • Provide evidence available that provides insight as to why the nominated person performed in a manner worthy of recognition.
Nomination
  • Is the evidence that the person named in the application was nominated or was intended to be nominated at the time of the action occurring? If yes, provide this evidence.
Why the nominated person was not recognised at the time of the action?
  • If relevant to the application, provide evidence of how the nomination and recommendation process failed to identify the nominated person at the time of the action, service or performance.

Application submitted

Information or evidence provided which is comparative, anecdotal, unsubstantiated or based on opinion will be returned to the applicant with a request to provide additional substantive evidence.

Following the conclusion of the review, the applicant will be advised of the outcome in writing.

Timeframes

Submissions that do not provide sufficient substantive evidence will increase the time taken to undertake the review and impact on its outcome.

Honour reviews require extensive research and consideration. The length of time to research, review and consider an application for an honour is dependent on the complexity of the case and quality of evidence provided or available with Defence records. 

The timeframes to receive an outcome can extend beyond 12 to 18 months from the date the application is received.

While Defence endeavours to have outcomes to applicants earlier, these timeframes may be exceeded.

Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal

The independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal is established to review decisions related to Defence Honours and Awards.

The Tribunal can only accept an application for review following a determination made by Defence to refuse to recommend an individual for a Defence honour.

The Tribunal cannot review a decision made before 3 September 1939, or a decision which relates to service rendered before 3 September 1939.

The Tribunal can only review decisions relating to Honours listed at Part 6 Section 35 of the Defence Regulation 2016.

Decisions relating to Unit Citations are not subject to review by the Tribunal.

For more information visit Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal website.

Resources

Application Checklist (PDF, 159.87 KB)