‘Purple Heart’-type award for Australia – RECOMMENDED

In January 2021, then Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester directed Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal to consider recognition for members of the ADF who are injured, wounded or killed in or as a result of their service.

One year later, in January last year, a comprehensive report was published – recommending that suitable recognition should be instituted.

The report recommend the institution of the following new forms of medallic and emblematic recognition:

Recommendation 1

a)  a Memorial Clasp – to be posthumously awarded to a member of the ADF or a veteran who dies in or as a result of service. The Clasp is to be attached to the Australian campaign or service medal most relevant to the circumstances in which the death occurred and bearing, at the discretion of the veteran’s family:

   

the date of death; or

the date of the incident leading to death; or

no date;

b)  a Gratitude Clasp – to be awarded to a member of the ADF or veteran who is seriously wounded, seriously injured or suffers a serious injury in or as a result of service.
The Clasp is to be attached to the Australian campaign or service medal most relevant to the circumstances in which wounding or injury occurred and bearing, at the discretion of the veteran (or family where posthumous recognition is sought):

the date of wounding or injury; or

where multiple dates of wounds or injuries have been recognised, the number of such events recognised; or

no date;

c)  a Memorial Star – A full size brooch-like emblem of a uniquely Australian design that recognises the sacrifice of the family of a member of the ADF or veteran who dies in service or whose death is service related;

d)  a Gratitude Star – A full size brooch-like emblem of uniquely Australian design to recognise the sacrifice of the family of the member or veteran who has suffered a serious wound, serious injury or serious disease in or as a result of service; and

e)  for veterans awarded the Gratitude Clasp, a lapel pin of separate and appropriate design for everyday wear at the discretion of the veteran.

Recommendation 2

We recommend that the Memorial Clasp, the Gratitude Clasp, the Memorial Star and the Gratitude Star be accompanied by a scroll, issued under the authority of the Governor General, to commemorate the sacrifice of the member, veteran or the family, as applicable.

Recommendation 3

We recommend that the proposed new forms of recognition be available retrospectively, to recognise death, serious wounding, serious injury or serious disease that is or was brought about in or as a result of service after 2 September 1945.

In transmitting the report and recommendations to government, the reports authors said Australia, through the Order of Australia and the Australian Defence honours and awards system, already recognises the service of members of the Australian Defence Force.

“Additionally, as detailed in this report, Australia acknowledges the wounding, injury or death of such members in a variety of essential ways – for example, through health care, income support, compensation, family support, Service bereavement pins, and memorials.

“But none of these consequences of service are reflected in the present medallic forms of recognition, none expressly convey the gratitude of the nation for individual sacrifice, and none provide a suitably solemn and individual emblem of that gratitude.

“We have concluded that it is timely, if not incumbent, for Australia to initiate such an expression of its gratitude to members and their families.

“In the attached report we detail our proposal for what we believe to be a principled scheme for providing that recognition for service-related death and serious wounding, injury or disease.

“We believe it would provide a tangible and readily recognisable expression of national gratitude for the sacrifice of ADF members killed or suffering a serious wound, injury or disease in or as a result of their service and, quite separately, that of their families, and would do so in a way that allows existing defence honours and awards to better “tell the story” of that service.

“While this scheme may be unprecedented in some respects, we believe it to be justifiable and achievable.

“We thus commend it to you and, through you, to the Government.”

Two years a the inquiry was launched and a full year after the report was handed to the government, there is no further word on the status of the recommendations.

Read the full report here.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Department of Veterans’ Affairs was among those who objected to the proposed recognitions. While others who were negative to the whole idea, mainly on grounds of preserving the integrity of the Australian Honours and Awards System – DVA objected out of consideration of cost for DVA “if veterans, in order to gain eligibility for a clasp, were motivated to seek acceptance of a disability where they would not otherwise do so and are not current clients or, if they were current clients with a disability assessed at less than 30 impairment points/30% WPI, were motivated to apply for reassessment where they would not otherwise do so in order to have that assessment raised to the qualifying level. The Department also suggested that there may be impacts for it if veterans had their discharge reclassified as due to medical reasons for the purpose of gaining recognition, and then sought collateral entitlements from DVA”.


 
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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

31 thoughts on “‘Purple Heart’-type award for Australia – RECOMMENDED

    • 18/01/2023 at 10:24 am
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      Hahaha, I agree. I am sick of people who implement items and/or ideas because they have seen or know that the US has/have it. These people need to STOP IT!!! We are Australian, we should have Australian ideas. That said, I am not meaning to come across as Yank bashing, I just want us to come up with our own ideas with our own look and feel for a change.
      If I can also add to this reply? I agree with comments from LCOL Mollison, in particular – ‘I support a separate medal’. However, should we decide a medal is the option vice a bar, I will not support any medal that resembles the US Purple heart in either name or design, AT ALL (see my comment above – our own ideas). That is their medal that thankfully recognises injured service personnel for them. Any medal for the ADF should be a complete AUS only design and look, name, and meaning.
      Of the recommendations put forward in the report; I support the idea of a brooch like item to be provided to member’s families.

      Reply
  • 14/01/2023 at 5:23 pm
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    I think there is merit in having this discussion.
    Although I disagree with much of the Inquiry report, it seems to me that a soldier wounded in battle is worthy of recognition that is more than that awarded to those of us who were lucky enough to not be WIA or KIA.
    Notice the “in Action” part; I am not referring to those injured in a vehicle accident, for example.
    My first reaction was to support a bar to the particular campaign medal but I have always thought of the MID emblem attached to a campaign medal as being very inadequate; so I support a separate medal.
    I do not support any reference to “serious”! A soldier is either wounded in action or he is not. Let’s not even contemplate another bureaucracy to pontificate over whether a soldier’s wounding is “serious” or not!
    Also, I do not support such recognition of illness. It could be argued that a soldier contracted a serious strain of malaria only because he served in a certain area but I regard that as more bad luck than something deserving of recognition.
    Charles M

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  • 14/01/2023 at 4:34 pm
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    The only reason DVA oppose this is based on the fear of having more claims. This view is bloody disgusting, that organisation should have no input into any wards proposals by Defence or any Veterans organisation.
    It is about time DVA was re-purposed to provide assistance to Vet’s, rather than functioning like a Workers
    Compensation company. I had a Delegate tell me DVA targets people from the insurance industry when recruiting staff.

    Reply
  • 14/01/2023 at 12:09 pm
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    I agree with some of the answers, but DVA should have nothing to do with this. It is up to the Federal Govt. to either award it or forget it. Thankfully we dont have to go to King Carlie for approval. Michael Reilly

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  • 14/01/2023 at 11:06 am
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    More trinkets; form over function, dusted off twice a year to an adulating public that has no idea anyway. Government would serve ADF, veterans and the ex service community better by focussing the maximum of the allocated resources to direct support instead of vacuous baubles

    Reply
  • 14/01/2023 at 10:18 am
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    What a waste of money. Put it to better use fixing DVA and their broken system and insane backlog.

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  • 14/01/2023 at 9:53 am
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    Every manager/supervisor in the DVA should be required to complete army recruits and then six months in a fighting corps to qualify for promotion. Cant do it? No promotion, simples……

    Reply
  • 14/01/2023 at 9:30 am
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    I cringe at Gratitude Award. It’s so mild a concept. Gratitude for breakfast in bed, gratitude for a young’un offering their seat on the bus?
    Surely our rich language can produce something better and more appropriate.

    Reply
    • 14/01/2023 at 9:41 am
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      So true and well said Rosco. I suspect there is a long way to go yet, hopefully your suggestion will be acted upon.

      Reply
  • 14/01/2023 at 9:12 am
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    Will it apply to peacetime injuries as well e.g. vehicle accident resulting in a broken leg? I busted a foot in a simple accident during training, that eventually led to a med discharge – do I get one? Slightly related, but a little while back I was reading an RSL magazine about the Invictus Games, that detailed every member of the Aussie team. I expected to see mention of various combat injuries but they all seemed to be “lost an arm or leg after a car / motorbike crash”, “leg amputated following complications from disease” & similar. I don’t think there was a combat casualty there at all?

    Reply
  • 14/01/2023 at 6:53 am
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    And once again DVA raises their ugly head . DVA needs to concentrate on the back log of their claims department first and for most while I persona;;y think that the Australian version of the Purple heart is long over Due and if everyone actully reads the story ours will eventually be a Bar attached to the Campighn medal or service medal not a heart OK . I like RARA and other veteran organisations think that the award is going to be Awarded to a awfull lot of people . read the story and go on the honours and awards site and read all the people that will be entitled its very very long list . the Service pweson gets it then husband or wife there kids foster kids brothers sisters mums dads and thats just from memory , then youve got to versions a conbat related death or injury followed by a service related death or injusry anyone with more than 30percent incapacity throuhg DVA will qualify and yes Psych will count ,

    Reply
    • 14/01/2023 at 2:11 pm
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      You refer to “Psych” as if it is some kind of irrelevance. I thought that kind of dinosaur thinking was left behind last century.
      Don’t be so dismissive of things that you cannot comprehend.

      Reply
    • 15/01/2023 at 12:45 am
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      Does anyone have a copy, or link to a copy, of the report?
      Also, where did the DVA 30% mark come into play and why does DVA have any say in H&A awards?

      Reply
      • 15/01/2023 at 10:20 am
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        The report is linked in the story, Tracy – last line.
        Thank you for your interest.

        Reply
  • 13/01/2023 at 11:00 pm
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    Good idea… However, it should NOT be heart-shaped nor purple! To do so is merely a replication of the US decoration.

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    • 14/01/2023 at 9:28 am
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      Definitely agree. Australia has been the forelock-tugging subservient outlier culturally now for more than a generation.

      Reply
  • 13/01/2023 at 10:23 pm
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    This is dumb..
    Lingers and DVA points chasers will love it tho.

    Reply
  • 13/01/2023 at 10:19 pm
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    DVA should not be involved in approving/disapproving any award system as they are a service agency of public servants.
    The broad scope of the proposal opens it up for, as commented, a USA lolly pop award. Look at all the awards that were allocated on a quota basis with no connection to exceptional service.
    The ICB is an example of bulk and not necessarily fair representation of service in a theatre of war as many in the same zone were not included. i.e. Artillery, Armour and Transport and most others in a zone but not in an infantry unit.
    Nothing against the ICB but it ignored other service personnel involved in the zone.
    If history is anything to go by then DVA or whoever might have a massive task in validating qualification against a plethora of rules/regulations/scales and claims. Does a mental injury qualify??? It could be an administrative nightmare or just another lollypop just to keep it simple..

    Reply
    • 14/01/2023 at 12:10 pm
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      That is why we got the ACB (Army Combat Badge). It is for all the other corps that served in combat zones.

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  • 13/01/2023 at 9:39 pm
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    Seriously, so now we’re going down the path of the U.S. If this does go through, will this award be handed out like lolly pops just like the U.S purple heart award. Every Tom, Dick and Harry in the U.S armed forces seems to have a purple heart for the most of minor of injuries ie a scratch on the face. We’ll be the laughing stock of Australia if this goes ahead.
    Just let it go, and forget all about it.

    Reply
    • 14/01/2023 at 3:57 am
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      Good day, I’d like to make a comment about your post. To start, I’m an enlisted U.S. serviceman, retired. I served for 25 years. Four years in the Marine Corps and 21 years in the Air Force. I got injured in an accident while on active duty. I did not get a Purple Heart (PH), nor would I have accepted one. I did not earn it. The PH is only given to service members who are injured or killed in action. It isn’t issued haphazardly. The award of it only comes after the injury and/or death is verified. My family has served in every conflict going back to the Civil War. None of us earned the Purple Heart, just lucky I guess.
      If Australia decides to award some sort of device to those who are injured or KIA. I think that’s a good idea. It would be an honor if our PH was selected for your usage. If your defense officials choose some other method to pay tribute, it would still honor those who gave their full measure.
      Thank you for the opportunity to comment about this issue.
      As we say in the Marines, Semper Fi!

      Reply
      • 15/01/2023 at 12:38 am
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        Well said matey. Semper Fi.

        Reply
      • 15/01/2023 at 7:12 pm
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        Hi Jeff , thank-you for your wonderful words. I hope that any government who would put in place a medal to honour those who have been injured or KIA in the line of duty for ADF do any injustice to the PH. The issue is the DVA they pick and choose who they want and never get back to the rest of us. I was in the BDF & ADF For over 40 yrs and my family have fort in every war for BDF & ASF since argoncourt. I’ve been injured a few times in my 40+ yrs in the Army. It’s about getting it right and the DVA isn’t the way to go, I’m proud to read that you and your family have dedicated their lives the servicing your Country. I’ve never complained about anything along the lines of medal , for me it’s bigger than that and I was/am extremely good at my job. This is about the hundreds of ADF Who without recognition and not getting the help they need now have one more thing the DVA has their dirty fingers in.
        God bless you Jeff
        Stand Proud & True.

        Reply
        • 15/01/2023 at 7:16 pm
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          I met do no injustice to the PH

          Reply
          • 22/01/2023 at 3:11 am
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            None taken. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this issue.

            Reply
        • 22/01/2023 at 3:26 am
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          Sounds like some of your folks are getting a real crap sandwich. Our Veterans Affairs (VA) has had too many problems over the years. For example, when Denver Colorado needed a replacement for a decrepit VAhospital that was falling apart, the VA took it upon themselves to contract out the work. The building was at least 10 years overdue and the price tag ended up being in excess of $1 billion US dollars.

          During those times when the VA gets a severe case of cranial anal inversion, we have several veteran organizations to help out. The VFW, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) to name a few. These groups are not part of the government, they are are for the Veterans well being. A vet gets screwed over by the VA, these organizations will represent the Vet and support them. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through to get the help they need but with their help, a lot fewer of are Vets will get screwed over.

          Reply
  • 13/01/2023 at 9:33 pm
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    Typical response from the Veterans’ ENEMY – DVE* – WOULDN’T WANT VETERANS TO THINK THEY ARE SOMEHOW IMPORTANT IN THE SCHEME OF THINGS. IT’S TIME THAT THEY, TOO, WERE DISBANDED – BEING MERELY THE ‘DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP’ REGIME FOR THEIR POLITICAL MASTERS. I SUPPOSE ‘Sir Humphrey’ thinks the bureaucraps are more worthy – so why not give them their own ‘psychpathics’ award ‘above and BEYOND’ ?!!

    Reply
  • 13/01/2023 at 9:33 pm
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    DVA should have no influence about awards, they should just do their job and leave the awards to the government of the day.

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    • 15/01/2023 at 4:27 pm
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      I agree , the DVA should no say in awards at all , really they should be disbanded as they don’t work in and iron lung. I gave 40+ years and the DVA Response was we’ll get back to you.
      As for an award for being wounded down range or in the service of, yes it’s not before time .

      Reply
      • 16/01/2023 at 4:04 pm
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        This can all be summed up in the words of George Washington:
        – The willingness of future generations to serve in our military will be directly dependent upon how we have treated those who have served in the past !

        There is an interesting poster on the American (D)VA OIG website that should be sent to the current dva minister:
        .

        I’m sure there are extra ‘political servants’ running their shredders non-stop in the nation’s branches over the last few weeks – since the ‘National Corruption Commission’ has been ‘mentioned’.

        No ‘exposure’ yet by officials/politicians/media of the INFAMOUS VETERAN-DEBT covered-up since 2013 (VETERANGATE); the forerunner to the identical ROBODEBT ILLEGAL SCAM 2 years later, which took 5 years to ‘uncover’.

        This is where Veterans (and others) have been lacking a ‘voice’. We need the same LEGAL protection – of an O.I.G – as America; which actively promotes whistleblowers in the Veteran community.

        As with the corrupt A.A.T. – now ‘disbanded’ – there have been too many obstacles placed in Australia’s Veterans’ path – to prevent JUSTICE.

        If A.A.T. documents/ files have not already been destroyed – the evidence of DVA would be there for all to see.

        Too late, DVA / DVE* have seen the consequences of their psychopathic treatment of Veterans – with massive Defence resignations and lack of new recruits.

        As George Washington mentioned – when future generations see how Veterans have been treated, then DVE* is recognised as the NEW ENEMY if Veterans are injured physically or mentally.

        (D V E* :
        Delays/Denials/Depriving/
        Defrauding
        Veterans of LEGAL
        ENTITLEMENTS)
        – SAYS IT ALL !

        AND NO LEGAL CONSEQUENCES !

        (The ‘Voice’
        -‘Try to Understand It’).
        (Sorry John F.)

        Reply

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