Order of Australia

Significance

In the Australian honours system appointments to the Order of Australia confer the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service.

There are two divisions of the Order of Australia: the Civil or General Division and the Military Division.

The General Division of the Order of Australia has five levels:

The Military Division of the Order of Australia has four levels for service and performance of duties:

History

The Australian system of honours and awards was established in 1975. At this time The Queen approved the institution of the Order of Australia: 'an Australian society of honour for according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service'.

Prior to 1975 Australians were recognised under the British honours system, also known as Imperial awards.

The Queen is the Sovereign Head of the Order of Australia and the Governor-General is the Principal Knight or Dame, as the case may be, and as Chancellor is charged with the administration of the Order. The Official Secretary to the Governor-General is the Secretary of the Order of Australia.

From 1976 to 1986 there was provision for the appointment of Knights and Dames in the Order of Australia. On 25 March 2014, Knights and Dames were reinstated as the highest awards in the Order of Australia. Knights and Dames are already included in the Order of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards above Companion.

Past recipients

Recipients of honours in the Order of Australia are from many fields of endeavour and all walks of life.

Search the Australian Honours List for recipients of the Order of Australia.

Membership of the independent Order of Australia Association is open to recipients of awards.

How it is awarded

The Order of Australia is the pre-eminent way Australians recognise the achievements and service of their fellow citizens.

Appointment of Knights and Dames will be made for extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit in service to Australia or humanity at large. Governors-General become a Knight or Dame of the Order of Australia by virtue of their appointment as Governor-General. In addition to Governors-General, there will be a maximum of 4 appointments a year, excluding Honorary awards to non-Australian citizens. The Prime Minister recommends appointments of Knights and Dames in the Order of Australia for The Queen of Australia’s approval.

Nominations for the other four levels of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia come directly from the community. Nominations are considered by the Council for the Order of Australia which makes recommendations direct to the Governor-General.

Appointments in the Order of Australia are not made posthumously. However, a nomination will be considered if the person is alive when the nomination form is received by the Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat at Government House in Canberra.

The Governor-General makes appointments to the Military Division of the Order of Australia on the recommendation of the Minister for Defence.

Honorary appointments in the Order of Australia may be made to people who are not Australian citizens where they have given extraordinary service to Australia or humanity at large.

Council for the Order of Australia

The Council for the Order of Australia is an independent body that considers nominations for appointments and awards in the General Division of the Order (except for Knights and Dames).

The Council makes recommendations for appointments direct to the Governor-General.

The Council considers whether a nominee in the Order of Australia has:

  • demonstrated achievement at a high level
  • made a contribution over and above what might be reasonably expected through paid employment, or
  • whose voluntary contribution to the community stands out from others who have also made a valuable contribution.

The Council meets twice a year. There are 19 members including representatives of every state and territory, public office holders (ex-officio) and community representatives.

The community representatives on the Council are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

Announcements

Appointments in the Order of Australia are generally announced on Australia Day (26 January) and The Queen's Birthday public holiday (June).

Important information about making a nomination

Anyone can nominate an Australian citizen for an award in the Order of Australia. The nomination may come from an individual or a group.

There is an Order of Australia nomination form which can be downloaded from this website or obtained from the Honours Secretariat at Government House.

See:

The nomination should include an outline of how the nominee has made a significant contribution to the community. Contact details for the nominator (the person making the nomination), the nominee and four referees who can directly comment on the nominee's contribution and achievements also need to be provided.

All nominations are confidential. The person being nominated should not be advised of their nomination or approached for information at any stage.

The information on the nomination form is strictly for the Council for the Order of Australia to assess the nominee.

The Honours Secretariat processes nominations in order of receipt.

Consideration of a nomination can take between 18 months and two years.

Nominators will be contacted approximately one week prior to the official publication of the honours list for which the nomination was considered.

Successful nominees receive a written offer of an award in the Order of Australia.

Nomination Form

Download a copy of the Order of Australia nomination form:

Note: This form is currenlty being updated. For more information on PDF files and their use see the PDF Help page on this site.

Alternatively you can leave your name and postal address on the Honours free call, 24 hour answering service:

Phone: 1800 552 275.

Or you can write to:

Secretary
Order of Australia
Government House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

More Information

For more information, a nomination form or a replacement lapel pin for the Order of Australia contact:

Secretary
Order of Australia
Government House
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Ph: 1800 552 275

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Last Updated: 22 May 2014

Order of Australia Association

Order of Australia Association

Order of Australia Association

Order of Australia Association

Order of Australia Association

Order of Australia Association

Order of Australia Association

Order of Australia Association

Order of Australia Association

Order of Australia Association

Order of Australia Association