Senate to investigate process of awarding medals in Defence

The Senate has approved a motion to launch an investigation into the process of awarding medals in Defence – including the Distinguished Service Cross awarded to outgoing Chief of Defence Force Angus Campbell.

CAPTION: Outgoing Chief of Defence Force General Angus Campbell at the Change of Command Ceremony for the Chief of Joint Capabilities at Russell Office, Canberra. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite.

Queensland Senator for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party Malcolm Roberts put the motion to the Senate on 3 July 2024.

The motion was narrowly passed, 32 votes to 31, with Labor and the Greens voting nay.

Senator Roberts said on Facebook that senior officers had completely abused the Defence honours and awards system.

“Senior brass often nominate each other for medals like it comes in their salary package,” Senator Roberts said.

“Meanwhile, enlisted personnel have to fight for recognition and higher ups arbitrarily downgrade their medals.

“I suspect Angus Campbell’s Distinguished Service Cross is the tip of the iceberg and this inquiry will have the ability to look at the issue in depth.

“The system needs a serious inquiry and I’m thankful to the Senate for establishing one.”

Senator Roberts moved the motion in the Senate –

That the following matter be referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 28 November 2024:

The integrity and efficacy of the Defence honours and awards system, with particular reference to:

(a) experiences of Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel progressing through the honours and awards system;

(b) the effect of awards and honours on maintaining morale within the ADF;

(c) assurance of the integrity of awards to senior officers for conduct in the Afghanistan conflict;

(d) the effect of changes in criteria for some honours and awards from ‘in action’ to ‘in warlike operations’;

(e) the operation of the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal, including any potential improvements;

(f) any potential improvements to the Defence honours and awards system; and

(g) any related matters.

Public submission to the enquiry are now called for.

Senator Roberts stressed that witnesses were protected in giving their evidence even though some Defence personnel fear reprisals.

“Anyone coercing, interfering with or punishing a person for giving evidence to the committee could be held in contempt of the Senate,” he said.

Submissions to the committee can be made confidentially for those wishing not to be identified.

Find details on making a submission here.






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Posted by Brian Hartigan

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

8 thoughts on “Senate to investigate process of awarding medals in Defence

  • 18/07/2024 at 5:27 pm

    I think it would be a good idea if “Contact” made a submission to the senate inquiry using letters it receives on this subject. There is a lot of anecdotal information out there on the subject of ADF members fighting for what is rightful theirs. Cambell was a knob and I for one will be glad to see the back of him.

  • 16/07/2024 at 4:46 pm

    I am “jockey Fordyce, I was a Flight Engineer on the C130A with 36 Squadron from 1961 to 1966. During that time we operated over broad ocean crossings without available critical emergency equipment: the life-rafts for eleven months. They were carried within the cargo compartment to satisfy the Navigation Regulation that they were on board but in a ditching, they were unavailable as they would not fit through the top hatches. Because of the increasing conflicts the air transport was imperative, so we operated without the safety equipment thinking it would be only for a few trips but I did over 150 hours over oceans including Indian, Pacific and Atlantic. Even though we have applied no appreciation eventuated except continuing PTSD.

  • 15/07/2024 at 1:09 pm

    It would seem to me that the criteria to get certain medals was changed to allow senior officers who were not actually in the frontline to be able to be granted the medal??

    I understand they may be very smart and educated but in my view they were just doing the job they were paid for!!

  • 15/07/2024 at 11:37 am

    Every senior officer who was awarded a medal for living in a hotel miles away from the battlefield needs be investigated and to have the medal withdrawn. During WW1 Australian soldiers got a chevron every time they were wounded. It was worn on the sleeve. Why don’t the government reintroduce that system for the guys who were wounded on active service?

  • 15/07/2024 at 11:16 am

    I am afraid that you will be fighting against a long tradition that started in the Boer War, with “squeezers” getting awards and medals for doing absolutely nothing except command from afar, when enlisted personnel and junior officers have to fight for the same. I am still awaiting a medal for my time I spend in the Somali conflict – as usual I guess I will die before any recognition comes my way.

  • 15/07/2024 at 1:02 am

    Yes I’ve applied for the ASM 3 times for an Indian Ocean deployment that we on HMAS Perth II had, 2 escort the Yanks and the Poms threw, we spent the Good part of the 3month deployment in action stations and only on third application they hit me with 30day rule, we were in action stations for a lot longer than the 30day rule which was No picnic. I applied as every other Deployment B4 ours were awarded with the ASM, My boss at the time, a PO, put it on FB 2 see the reaction if I could get it, every comment said “Yes” 1 even said, “He got it and doesn’t even know why” But they R supposed 2 go on precedence, even the Goveror General at the time, told that our deployment would B the last Ship 2 get it, which I told Honours and Awards it was in the ‘Navy News’ but they just said 2 that, ” a wrong signal went out” but the Navy doesn’t send out wrong signals. It was in the Navy News that gets distributed 2 every ship and establishment in the Navy for every sailor 2 see. And there was no retraction, I was Discharged Medically, I’m a Gold Card TPI with DVA, and not in a possession 2 know if anybody of a higher rank received it for that deployment, but every other Deployent received it. I’m acid that they won’t give to me
    Yours Faithfully
    Nobby Clark.
    15 July 24

  • 14/07/2024 at 11:45 am

    Yes, I agree with the senator. Just why in the hell do the top brass get awarded all these gongs and the average soldier have to fight tooth and nail for theirs. Ìt seems to be a sinister plot for these overrated senior players to award themselves something they don’t actually deserve, when the real people who really deserve them get absolutely nothing in return for they’re sacrifice and service.

    • 15/07/2024 at 1:06 am

      And why isn’t there a Medical Discharge Gong that of the US have?


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