Australian Defence Medal

The Australian Defence Medal recognises Australian Defence Force personnel who have

  • enlisted for an indefinite period and rendered four years qualifying service; or
  • enlisted for a fixed period and completed the specified period of enlistment, or a period of four years, whichever is the lesser.

Qualifying service is counted by enlistment/appointment year - 12 months from your enlistment/appointment date - not calendar or financial year.

Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) is not an initial enlistment period. An AD304 (Acknowledgement of the Requirements of Service in the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army or Royal Australian Air Force) indicates, under Appointment on page 3, the member enlisted for a specific period.

Former members who did not complete the qualifying period may also be eligible if they:

  • died in service;
  • were medically discharged;
  • discharged from service due to a discriminatory Defence policy of the time; or
  • discharged from service as a consequence of mistreatment.

The medal is cupro-nickel. The obverse has a stylised version of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms as used on the Australia Service Medal 1939-45. This is surrounded by the inscription ‘THE AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE MEDAL’ above a sprig of wattle.

The reverse has the inscription ‘FOR SERVICE’ below the Crown of St Edward all surrounded by a wattle wreath. The use of the wreath acknowledges the sacrifice of those who have died in service or been discharged due to injury resulting from service, a secondary qualification for the medal.

The ribbon is red with black edges, the colours of the Flanders poppy that represent the Anzac spirit of the Australian armed forces. The white stripes divide the ribbon into three, to denote the three Services and also represent service contributing to the peace of Australia.

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World War II veterans are not eligible for the Australian Defence Medal unless they completed the qualifying service after 3 September 1945. The Australia Service Medal 1939-45 is the Australian award for the recognition of World War II service.