Honours, awards and medals

The honours system recognises people of outstanding merit, and those who have committed themselves to service to the nation.

Prior to the establishment of the Australian system, our citizens were honoured by awards in the centuries old, British Imperial system. These Imperial honours, except for those in the personal gift of the Queen are no longer awarded to Australians.

Since 1975 we have had our own system of 53 different types of honours and awards through which the community can recognise the gallantry, bravery, achievement and service of their fellow Australians.

Members of the public, or a community group, may nominate individuals for the Order of Australia and Australian Bravery Decorations. Meritorious Service Awards are based on nominations from a specific organisation. While the Department of Defence also nominates individuals for a range of service decorations.

Anyone can be nominated, but only exceptional people are honoured. The fourteen member Council for the Order of Australia, who consider each nomination, are looking for someone who has made a difference in their community.

Before you make your nomination, your should carefully consider the following questions. Has your nominee:

  • made a difference to their community or field of work?
  • brought distinction to their country?
  • exemplified the best sustained and selfless voluntary service?
  • demonstrated innovation and entrepreneurship?
  • carried the respect of their peers?
  • changed things, with an emphasis on achievement?
  • improved the lot of those less able to help themselves?
  • displayed great physical courage
  • displayed moral courage and vision in making and delivering tough choices?

For more detailed information about our system of awards follow this link to the website.