Call for change to way service medals are delivered

Malcolm Smith's medals remain missing. Photo: Melinda Jane
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ANZAC Day is a time for former service men and women to wear their medals with pride and to be honoured.

Malcolm Smith has been waiting two years to wear his medals, but they remain missing after being sent to an empty house in St Marys – soon after he’d moved out.

“I served 15 years in the Australian Regular Army and two and a half in the Army Reserves so over 17 years in total which meant I was eligible for the Defence Force Service Medal for length of time served and the Australian Defence Medal,” Mr Smith said.

“I didn’t get them so was given a tracking number which said it was delivered but because there was no signature required, they have been delivered to an empty residence and have gone into the void.”

Mr Smith contacted the police and the Department of Defence, who said he would have to complete a statutory declaration stating he never received them and would be reissued with a copy. He believes this could have all been avoided if registered postage with a signature required was used.

“It’s amazing how all this process started because there was no signature for a bunch of medals, if there had been no one to sign and deliver it would have gone back to the post office then sent back until I claimed them and sent to my new address,” Mr Smith said.

“If they are sent with registered mail then if anyone is out, they will be sent to a post office and held not left on a doorstep so someone can pick them up and walk away.”

Mr Smith hopes that his case will spur a change to ensure no other veterans will go through this.

“Mine are gone and I’m disappointed but I accept that however, if I can change the process, I will be happy,” Mr Smith said.

“We celebrate as a country all our personnel who have served whether present or past and no one deserves to get their awards treated poorly.”

A spokesperson from the Department of Defence said that tracking is managed by Australia Post, and is outside Defence’s control.

“Medals for former serving members are sent to the address provided at the time of application. Medals are sent via Australia Post using Standard Parcel Post, which includes tracking of the package,” the spokesperson said.

“The Defence Honours and Awards Replacement Medals Policy allows for the replacement of medals in certain circumstances. In some cases, the medals are replaced as if they were the original issue. Where this cannot occur, the medal is engraved with a ‘D’ for Duplicate.”

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