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Constitution of the Order of Australia

This compilation was prepared in May 2018 taking into account amendments approved by Letters Patent dated 16 April 2018.


THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA

1    (1) The Order of Australia (hereinafter called 'the Order') shall consist of a General Division and a Military Division.

      (2) A person appointed to the Order shall be appointed in the General Division or in the Military Division.

      (3) Appointments to the Order shall be as a Companion, Officer, or Member.

      (4) There shall be a Medal of the Order called the 'Medal of the Order of Australia'.

      (5) Every Australian citizen appointed to the Order or awarded the Medal of the Order is a member of the Order, and every other person appointed to the Order or awarded the Medal of the Order is an honorary member of the Order.

OFFICERS OF AND COUCIL FOR THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA

2    (1) The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia shall be the Chancellor of the Order.

      (1a) If the Governor-General is a Knight or a Dame in the General Division, the Governor-General shall be the Principal Knight or Dame in that Division.

      (1b) If the Governor-General is not a Knight or a Dame in the General Division, the Governor-General shall be the Principal Companion in that Division.

      (2) Where a person ceases to hold office as Governor-General, he or she shall continue to be a member of the Order in the General Division in the class of membership that he or she held immediately before ceasing to hold that office.

2A  (1) The Governor-General shall have precedence, after the Sovereign, of all other members of the Order.

      (2) His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, shall have precedence in the Order immediately after the Governor-General.

      (3) His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, shall have precedence in the Order immediately after His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. 

3    The Chancellor is charged with the administration of the Order.

4    (1) There shall be a Council for the Order, hereinafter called "the Council" which shall consist of—

      (a) ************************

      (b) the Vice-President of the Federal Executive Council;

      (c) the person for the time being occupying, or performing the duties of, the office prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph by the Minister responsible for the administration of the Australian honours system or any Minister or member of the Executive Council acting for or on behalf of that Minister; and

      (d) the person for the time being occupying the office of Chief of the Defence Force or, if another office is prescribed for the purpose of this paragraph, the person occupying the office so prescribed; and

      (e) 16 persons appointed by the Governor-General, of whom:

          (i) 8 shall be nominated by the Prime Minister; and

          (ii) one shall be nominated by the State of New South Wales; and

          (iii) one shall be nominated by the State of Victoria; and

          (iv) one shall be nominated by the State of Queensland; and

          (v) one shall be nominated by the State of Western Australia; and

          (vi) one shall be nominated by the State of South Australia; and

          (vii) one shall be nominated by the State of Tasmania; and

          (viii) one shall be nominated by the Northern Territory of Australia; and

          (ix) one shall be nominated by the Australian Capital Territory.

      (2) A member of the Council referred to in paragraph (1) (e) shall hold office for a period of two years from the date of appointment and is eligible for re-appointment.

      (3) The Governor-General shall:

          (a) on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, appoint one of the members appointed under subparagraph (1) (e) (i) to be Chairman of the Council; and

          (b) in the event of the Chairman being unavailable to act in the office, appoint another member appointed under subparagraph (1) (e) (i) to act as Chairman of the Council.

      (4) If a member of the Council is absent or unable to act in that capacity, the member may be represented on the Council:

          (a) if the member is the Vice-President of the Federal Executive Council—by another member of the Federal Executive Council under summons chosen, in accordance with arrangements made by the Governor-General, to act in the member’s place as a member of the Council; or

          (b) if the member is a member referred to in paragraph (1) (c) or (d) or subparagraph (1) (e) (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii), (viii) or (ix)— by a person chosen, in accordance with arrangements made by the Governor-General, to act in the member’s place as a member of the Council.

5    The Council shall—

      (a) consider the following nominations

          (i) nominations of Australian citizens for membership of the Order through appointment to the Order in the General Division or award the Medal of the Order in the General Division

          (ii) nominations of permanent residents for honorary membership of the Order through appointment to the Order in the General Division or award of the Medal of the Order in the General Division; and

      (b) make recommendations to the Governor-General in relation to those nominations; and

      (c) advise the Governor-General on such other matters concerning the Order as the Governor-General may refer to the Council for consideration.

5A  (1) 10 members of the Council constitute a quorum for the transaction of the business of the Council.

      (2) In this section, ‘member of the Council’ includes a person chosen to act, under subsection 4 (4), in the place of a member mentioned in paragraph 4 (1) (b), (c), (d) or (e).

6    (1) There shall be a Secretary of the Order who shall be appointed by the Governor-General.

      (2) The Secretary shall maintain the records of the Order and of the Council, and shall perform such other functions in respect of the Order as the Governor-General directs.

7    The Governor-General may appoint such other officials for the Order as are, in the Governor-General’s sole discretion, considered to be necessary for the purpose.

8    A person is not a member of the Order by reason only of that person being a member of the Council or an official of the Order.

APPOINTMENTS AND AWARDS

9    Appointments (including honorary appointments) to the Order and awards of the Medal of the Order shall be made, with the approval of the Sovereign, by Instrument signed by the Governor-General and sealed with the Seal of the Order.

10  Nothing in this Constitution limits the right of the Governor-General to exercise all powers and authorities of the Sovereign in respect of the Order.

GENERAL DIVISION
ELIGIBILITY FOR APPOINTMENT

11  (1) Australian citizens including members of the Defence Force, are eligible to be appointed to the Order as members in the General Division.

      (2) Persons other than Australian citizens are eligible to be appointed to the Order as honorary members in the General Division.

      (3) The Medal of the Order in the General Division may be awarded to Australian citizens and other persons.

ORDER OF AUSTRALIA—COMPANIONS IN THE GENERAL DIVISION

12  (1) Appointments as Companions or honorary Companions in the General Division shall be made for eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or to humanity at large.

      (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a distinguished person who is not an Australian citizen may be appointed an honorary Companion in the General Division where it is desirable that the person be honoured by Australia.

13  ************************

14  The Governor-General may, in any calendar year, appoint to be Companions in the General Division, other than honorary Companions, not more than the number of persons prescribed by Ordinance.

ORDER OF AUSTRALIA—OFFICERS IN THE GENERAL DIVISION

15  (1) Appointments as Officers or honorary Officers in the General Division shall be made for distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or to humanity at large.

      (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a distinguished person who is not an Australian citizen may be appointed an honorary Officer in the General Division where it is desirable that the person be honoured by Australia.

16  The Governor-General may, in any calendar year, appoint to be Officers in the General Division, other than honorary Officers, not more than the number of persons prescribed by Ordinance.

ORDER OF AUSTRALIA—MEMBERS IN THE GENERAL DIVISION

17  (1) Appointments as Members or honorary Members in the General Division may be made for service in a particular locality or field of activity or to a particular group.

      (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person who is not an Australian citizen may be appointed an honorary Member in the General Division where it is desirable that the person be honoured by Australia.

18  The Governor-General may, in any calendar year, appoint to be Members in the General Division, other than honorary Members, not more than the number of persons prescribed by Ordinance.

MEDAL OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA—AWARDS IN THE GENERAL DIVISION

18A Awards of the Medal of the Order in the General Division may be made for service worthy of particular recognition.

NOMINATIONS

19  (1) Any person or organisation may submit a nomination mentioned in paragraph 5(a) to the Secretary of the Order for consideration by the council.

      (2) Upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister, the Governor- General may make persons (other than Australian citizens or permanent residents) honorary members of the Order through appointment to the Order in the General Division or award the Medal of the Order in the General Division.

MILITARY DIVISION
ELIGIBILITY FOR APPOINTMENT

20  (1) The following are eligible to be appointed to the order as members in the Military Division:

          (a) members of the Defence Force; and

          (b) former members of the Defence Force whose Defence Force service has ceased for not more than one year; and

          (c) other persons determined by the Minister for Defence for the purposes of this paragraph.

      (2) Members of the armed forces of a country other than Australia are eligible to be appointed to the Order as honorary members in the Military Division.

      (3) In any calendar year, the number of appointments, other than honorary appointments, to the Military Division, shall not exceed one-tenth of one per cent of the average number of persons who were members of the Defence Force on each day of the immediately preceding year.

      (4) The Medal of the Order in the Military Division may be awarded to:

          (a) members of the Defence Force; and

          (b) former members of the Defence Force whose Defence Force service has ceased for not more than one year; and

          (c) other persons determined by the Minister for Defence for the purposes of this paragraph.

ORDER OF AUSTRALIA—COMPANIONS IN THE MILITARY DIVISION

21  (1) Appointments as Companions or honorary Companions in the Military Division shall be made for eminent service in duties of great responsibility.

      (2) The Governor-General may, in any calendar year, appoint as Companions in the Military Division, other than honorary Companions, a number of persons that is not greater than the number of persons that most closely approximates to five per cent of the total number of persons who may be appointed under subsection 20 (3) to all categories of membership, other than honorary membership, in the Military Division in that year.

ORDER OF AUSTRALIA—OFFICERS IN THE MILITARY DIVISION

22  (1) Appointments as Officers or honorary Officers in the Military Division shall be made for distinguished service in responsible positions.

      (2) The Governor-General may, in any calendar year, appoint as Officers in the Military Division, other than honorary Officers, a number of persons that is not greater than the number of persons that most closely approximates to twenty per cent of the total number of persons who may be appointed under subsection 20 (3) to all categories of membership, other than honorary membership, in the Military Division in that year.

ORDER OF AUSTRALIA—MEMBERS IN THE MILITARY DIVISION

23  Appointments as Members or honorary Members in the Military Division may be made for exceptional service or performance of duty.

MEDAL OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA—AWARDS IN THE MILITARY DIVISION

23A Awards of the Medal of the Order in the Military Division may be made for meritorious service or performance of duty.

NOMINATIONS

      (1) Upon the recommendation of the Minister for Defence, appointments to the Order as members in the Military Division and awards of the Medal of the Order in the Military Division may be made by the Governor-General.

      (2) Upon the recommendation of the Minister for Defence, appointments to the Order as honorary members in the Military Division may be made by the Governor-General.

TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE ORDER AND CANCELLATION OF AN AWARD OF THE MEDAL

25  (1) A person does not cease to be a member or honorary member of the Order by reason only of that person ceasing to be eligible to be appointed to the Order or to be awarded the Medal of the Order.

      (2) A person ceases to be a member or honorary member of the Order upon—

          (a) the death of the person;

          (b) the resignation of the person from the Order in writing, which resignation shall have effect from the day on which it is accepted by the Governor-General;

          (c) the termination of the appointment of the person to the Order by Ordinance; or

          (d) the cancellation of the award to the person of the Medal of the Order by Ordinance.

      (3) An appointment that has been terminated, or an award of the Medal of the Order that has been cancelled, may be restored by Ordinance.

26  ************************

INSIGNIA

27  When worn in Australia by an Australian citizen, the insignia of the Order shall be worn in the prescribed manner.

28  (1) Except as otherwise provided by Ordinance, the insignia of the Order shall remain the property of the Order.

      (2) Where a person ceases, otherwise than by death, to be a member of the Order, that person shall forthwith return to the Secretary of the Order the insignia of the Order.

SEAL

29  The Governor-General shall have the custody of the Seal of the Order.

ORDINANCES OF THE ORDER

30  The Governor-General may make Ordinances, not inconsistent with this Constitution, prescribing all matters (other than matters that may be prescribed under section 30A) that are required or permitted by this Constitution to be prescribed, or necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Constitution and, in particular, prescribing matters for:

      (a) the government of the Order;

      (b) the insignia of the Order;

      (c) the designations of members of the Order and persons who have been awarded the Medal of the Order;

      (d) investitures; and

      (e) terminations and cancellations.

30A The Governor-General may, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, make Ordinances prescribing the number of persons who may, in any calendar year, be appointed to be Companions, Officers or Members in the General Division (other than honorary Companions, Officers or Members).

DEFINITIONS

31  In this Constitution:

      Australian citizen has the meaning given by the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.

      permanent resident has the meaning given by the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.

NOTE TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA

The Constitution of the Order of Australia (in force under Letters Patent) as shown in this compilation is amended as indicated in the tables below.

TABLE OF INSTRUMENTS
TITLE
DATE OF NOTIFICATION IN GAZETTE
DATE OF
OUTLINE OF CHANGES

Letters Patent and Constitution of the Order of Australia
(1975, No. S28)

17 February 1975

14 February 1975

 

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (1976, No. S92)

2 June 1976

24 May 1976

Changed “Civil” Division to “General”. Introduced Knights (AK), Dames (AD) and Medal.

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (1981, No. S53)

27 March 1981

14 March 1981

Prince Charles is made Knight (AK).

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (1986, No. S101)

11 March 1986

3 March 1986

Removed AK/AD level. Increased quotas of other levels.

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (1988, No. S160)

10 June 1988

12 April 1988

Increased appointed members on the Council to 15.
Added ACT and NT representation to Council.

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (1989, No. S58)

16 February 1989

1 February 1989

Governor-General is made Chancellor of the Order and Principal Companion in the General Division.

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (1991, No. S353)

20 December 1991

5 December 1991

Altered to reflect self- government in the ACT.

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (1993, No. S80)

10 March 1993

24 February 1993

Medallists of the Order deemed to be members of the Order.

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (1996, No. S303)

16 August 1996

1 August 1996

Varied composition of Council for the Order.

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (1998, No. S147)

3 April 1998

5 March 1998

Varied composition of Council for the Order.
Variations to Military Division.

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (2003, No. S197)

6 June 2003

30 April 2003

Increased the maximum number of recipients in any calendar year for Companions (increase from 25 to 30), Officers (increase from 100 to 125) and Members (increase from 225 to 300) in the General Division.

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (C2014G00635)

17 April 2014

19 March 2014

Reinstated appointments of Knights and Dames of the Order.

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (C2015G00155)

30 January 2015

7 January 2015

Prince Philip is made Knight (AK).

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (C2015G00523)

13 April 2015

10 March 2015

Changed process for recommending appointments of Knights and Dames of the Order.

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (C2015G02163)

22 December 2015

29 October 2015

Removed AK/AD level.

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia (C2016G01347)

11 October 2016

10 September 2016

Increased the maximum number of recipients in any calendar year for Companions (increase from 30 to 35), Officers (increase from 125 to 140) and Members (increase from 300 to 340) in the General Division.

Letters Patent and Amendments of the Constitution of the Order of Australia

24 April 2018

16 April 2018

Allowed the Governor-General, by Ordinance, to determine
the number of persons to be appointed Companion, Officers, and Members.

TABLE OF AMENDMENTS

ad. = added or inserted       |       am. = amended       |       rep. = repealed       |       rs. = repealed and substituted

PROVISION AFFECTED
HOW AFFECTED

S. 1

am. 1976 No. S92; 1986 No. S101; 1993 No. S80; ad. C2014G00635; rep. C2015G02163

S. 2

rs. 1976 No. S92; 1986 No. S101 am. 1989 No. S58: rs. C2014Goo635;
rep. C2015G02163; ad. C2015G02163 (1a and 1b)

S. 2A

ad. 1986 No. S101 rs. C2015G00155

S. 3A

ad. 1981 No. S53 rep. 1986 No. S101

S. 4

am. 1976 No. S92; 1986 No. S101; 1988 No. S160; 1991 No. S353; 1996 No. S303; 1998 No. S147

S. 5

am. 1976 No. S92; C2015G00523; ad. C2014G00635; rs. C2016G01347

S. 5A

ad. 1998 No. S147

S. 7

rs. 1976 No. S92

S. 8

am. 1976 No. S92

S. 8A

ad. C2014G00635; rep. C2015G00523

S. 9

am. 1976 No. S92; 1986 No. S101; 1993 No. S80; ad. C2014G00635; am. C2015G00523; rep. C2015G00523

HEADING BEFORE S. 11

am. 1976 No. S92

S. 11

rs. 1976 No. S92

HEADING BEFORE S. 11A

ad. 1976 No. S92; C2014G00635 rep. 1986 No. S101; rep. C2015G02163

S. 11A

ad. 1976 No. S92; C2014G00635; rep. 1986 No. S101; rep. C2015G02163

S. 11B

ad. 1976 No. S92; C2014G00635; rep. 1986 No. S101; rep. C2015G02163

S. 11C

ad. 1976 No. S92; rep. 1986 No. S101

HEADING BEFORE S. 12

am. 1976 No. S92

S. 12

am. 1976 No. S92

S. 13

rep. 1976 No. S92

S. 14

am. 1976 No. S92; 1986 No. S101; 2003 No. S197; C2018G00297

HEADING BEFORE S. 15

am. 1976 No. S92

S. 16

am. 1976 No. S92; 1986 No. S101; 2003 No. S197; C2018G00297

HEADING BEFORE S. 17

am. 1976 No S92

S. 17

am. 1976 No S92

S. 18

am. 1976 No. S92; 1986 No. S101; 2003 No. S197; C2018G00297

HEADING BEFORE S. 18A

am. 1976 No S92

S. 18A

ad. 1976 No. S92; am. 1986 No. S101; 1989 No. S58

S. 19

am. 1976 No. S92; C2015G00523; ad. C2014G00635

RENUMBERED S. 19 (1)

1998 No. S147

S. 20

am. 1976 No. S92; 1998 No. S147

HEADING BEFORE S. 23A

ad. 1976 No. S92

S. 23A

ad. 1976 No. S92

S. 24

am. 1976 No. S92; 1993 No. S80; rs. 1998 No. S147

HEADING BEFORE S. 25

am. 1976 No. S92

S. 25

am. 1976 No. S92; 1993 No. S80

HEADING BEFORE S. 26

am. 1986 No. S01

S. 26

rs. 1976 No. S92; rep. 1986 No. S101

S. 28

am. 1976 No. S92; 1993 No. S80

S. 30

am. 1986 No. S101; 1988 No. S160; 1998 No. S147; C2018G00297

S. 30A

ad. C2018G00297

S. 31

ad. C2016G01347

 

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