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The National Medal was introduced in 1975 and is awarded to members of eligible organisations for 15 years of diligent service. The eligible organisations included the Police Force, Ambulance Service, Fire Service, Corrective Services, and the Australian Protective Service. In addition, permanent are part-time members of the Australian Defence Force are eligible to receive the Medal if they serve full or part-time with another eligible organisation. The award is available to full-time, part-time, paid, and unpaid members of these organisations.
The award was originally available to members of the Australian Defence Force (without having to work with another organisation), but in 1982, the ADF stopped issuing the Medal in favour of the Defence Force Service Awards.
The Medal is awarded to recognise individuals who disregard their personal welfare in order to provide a necessary service to the community. Eligibility for the award is dependent upon whether an individual performs a primary function in the organisation, rather than a secondary function, such as administrative work.
To receive the medal, a Chief Officer must deem the candidate’s 15 years of service as productive and diligent. As of 1999, the service rendered does not have to be continuous, and time simultaneously rendered with more than one organisation will only be counted once. The potential recipient must have served at least one day on or after 14 February 1975, and at least one day on and after a date approved by the Governor-General for their organisation. The approved date for the police, defence force, and ambulance service is 14 February 1975.
The obverse of the medal features the Australian Coat of Arms surrounded by the inscription ‘THE NATIONAL MEDAL FOR SERVICE’. The reverse of the medal is blank. The Crown of St. Edward is surmounted to the medal, but the detailing is only on the obverse. The ribbon features alternating stripes of gold and blue.
Clasps are awarded for every 10 years of additional service after the 15-year mark. The clasps are bronze and have 10 raised hemispheres. When the ribbon is worn alone, a clasp is denoted by wearing an emblem that is a miniature representation of the medal.
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