Australian Defence Medal

The Australian Defence Medal recognises current and former Australian Defence Force personnel who completed an initial enlistment period, or four years service, whichever was the lesser.

How it is awarded

The Governor-General (or his delegate) awards the Australian Defence Medal on the recommendation of the Chief of the Defence Force (or his delegate).

The eligibility criteria requires completion of an initial enlistment period or four years service, whichever is the lesser. The criteria also includes those who could not serve the four-year qualifying period or complete an initial enlistment period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • the death of a member during service
  • the discharge of the member as medically unfit due to compensable impairment
  • the discharge of the member due to a prevailing discriminatory Defence policy, as determined by the Chief of the Defence Force or his or her delegate.

The application form is available from the Department of Defence website. To access the Alternate Application Process, please call 1800 333 362.

The Medal may be awarded posthumously.

There is no post-nominal for this medal.


The Australian Defence Medal was established on 20 March 2006 by Letters Patent.

It recognises qualifying efficient service of current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) Regular and Reserve personnel, including National Servicemen, who have served since the end of World War II.

Regulations governing the award of the Medal were gazetted on 30 March 2006. 

Medal design

The Australian Defence Medal is a circular medal comprised of cupronickel.  The obverse features the Commonwealth Coat of Arms with a sprig of wattle with the top outer edge inscribed with the words ‘The Australian Defence Medal’.  The reverse is ensigned with the Crown of St Edward and includes the words ‘For Service’, surrounded by two sprays of wattle in blossom.

Medal ribbon

The ribbon colours include the black and red colour of the Flanders poppy and two white stripes to divide the red into three segments to denote the three services of the Australian Defence Force.

Award category

Other Defence Service Medals