Recent media reporting on eligibility for the Australian Defence Medal is misleading. Eligibility for the Australian Defence Medal has not changed. Introduced in 2006, the Medal is awarded to those who render qualifying service.
To qualify, personnel are required to complete their initial enlistment period or four years’ service, whichever is the lesser. Like apprentices and cadetships in private industry, the gap year can count toward service when the individual meets other qualifying requirements. Reduced periods of enlistment have historically applied, and continue to apply to both men and women depending on service requirements.
Defence introduced reduced initial minimum periods of service as a recruitment tool to attract candidates to certain employment categories. As of today, across the three services, there are over 40 categories which offer a reduced initial minimum period of service. The vast majority of these are not gender specific, while eight of these categories offer reduced periods of service to women only. This is to encourage greater participation of women in these roles.
Categories are not static and can change depending on the recruitment needs of the ADF.