Official Creation of Awards

Introduction

The Australian honours system dates from 1975 when the Order of Australia and the Australian Bravery Decorations were approved by The Queen.

Since then, new awards have progressively been added to the system. There are a total of 55 awards in the Australian system of honours.

Why new honours are created

New honours are created for two reasons:

How new honours are created

The process of introducing a new award involves a number of stages:

  • In-principle agreement – when the government decides to seek to create an honour, in-principle agreement is sought from The Queen.
  • Consultation – Government House Canberra, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and other relevant parties agree on factors such as nomination and assessment processes, medal and ribbon design and where the award will appear in the Order of Precedence.
  • Approval - the Letters Patent, Regulations, medal design and Order of Precedence are approved by The Queen.
  • Implementation - contracts are placed for manufacture of the medal and relevant administrative arrangements implemented.

Public announcement

The Prime Minister generally makes a public announcement following The Queen’s formal approval of an award.

The Letters Patent and the Regulations are then published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette.

Letters Patent

The Letters Patent is the official document issued by The Queen granting the right for a particular award to be instituted.

An example of a Letters Patent issued can be found for the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal on the Governor-General’s website.

Regulations

The Regulations set out the terms and conditions of an award including factors such as medal design and eligibility criteria.

An example of a set of Regulations issued can be found for the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal on the Governor-General’s website.

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Last Updated: 4 September, 2012