Opinion Number. 255

Subject

DEFENCE FORCES WHETHER COMMONWEALTH HAS POWER TO INSTITUTE MEDALS FOR MILITARY SERVICE

Key Legislation

DEFENCE ACTS 1903-1904, s. 124

Date
Client
The Secretary, Department of Defence

The Department of Defence asks to be advised on the question stated in the following minute:

The Imperial Government instituted, by Royal Warrants, certain medals and decorations for award to members of Colonial Forces, and such medals and decorations are now being issued, under Regulations approved by the Imperial Government, to members of the Naval and Military Forces of the Commonwealth.

The favour of an opinion is desired as to whether the Commonwealth Government has power-

  1. to institute a medal, say, for 'Long Service and Good Conduct' for award to members of a Branch of the Forces at present not eligible for a distinction of this nature, and
  2. to make Regulations, under the Defence Acts 1903-1904 prescribing the conditions which shall govern such award.

At the present time no medals or decorations are granted to the Naval or Military Forces of the Commonwealth except those instituted by the Imperial Government.

In my opinion the Commonwealth Government has power to institute such a medal as is mentioned, and to make Regulations under the Defence Acts 1903-1904 prescribing all necessary matters in relation thereto. Compare Mr Attorney-General Isaacs' opinion of 4 August 1905(1) on the subject of the Military Dress Regulations.

[Vol. 5, p. 330]

(1)Opinion No. 219.