RSL Medal Protocols

09th November 2021

Here we explain RSL protocols regarding the wearing and positioning of Miniature Medals and Non-Official Medals.

Miniature Medals

The only time these should be worn are on occasions when evening dress or a dinner jacket is worn at a dinner or evening function.

Wearing of non-official medals

The RSL actively discourages the wearing of non-official medals at RSL and other ceremonial or commemorative functions. If Commemorative Medals are worn, they should be positioned on the right breast and not mixed with Service Medals or Decorations.

The Awards and National Symbols Branch of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet further states:

Over a number of years some ex-service organisations have created and distributed commemorative medals to mark particular periods of military service. These medals have no official status.

You should be aware that the government has created a number of official medals that commemorate certain events. For example, the 80th Anniversary Armistice Remembrance Medal, the Australian Sports Medal and the Anniversary of National Service 1951—1972 Medal.

Only those medals, decorations and honours which have been created under the prerogative of the Crown, have official status. Such medals should be worn in accordance with The Order of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards on the left breast either on an official uniform or civilian dress.

Official medals worn by relatives of a deceased veteran should be worn on the right breast. Ideally, unofficial medals should not be worn. However if they are worn as the occasion demands, they may be worn on the right breast.

This advice is based upon official protocol and practice.

Fraudulent Wearing of Medals

No person, with the exception of a direct descendant of a deceased service man or woman, may wear medals which have not been awarded to him or her personally. This also applies to the wearing of miniature medals and medal ribbons.

  • Fraudulent wearing of medals attracts penalties under Federal regulations and also attracts subsequent penalties under the RSL Constitution.
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