The Tribunal is an independent statutory body established to consider defence honours and awards matters.

An individual is able to apply directly to the Tribunal for an independent review of a decision of the Department of Defence concerning eligibility for a defence honour, defence award, or foreign award.

The Government is also able to refer general eligibility issues to the Tribunal for inquiry and recommendation.

POWERS OF THE TRIBUNAL

Part VIIIC of the Defence Act 1903 sets out the Tribunal’s powers.

Reviews

In reviewing eligiblity for a defence award (such as a campaign or long service award) and foreign awards the Tribunal is able to affirm a decision, revoke a decision, substitute a new decision or vary a decision.

In reviewing eligibility for defence honours (such as a gallantry or distinguished service award) the Tribunal may make recommendations to Government to affirm, revoke, substitute or vary the Department’s initial decision.

Inquiries

At the conclusion of an inquiry the Tribunal will provide a report to Government outlining its findings and any recommendations.

The Tribunal’s Code of Conduct

The Tribunal’s Code of Conduct can be found here.

The Tribunal’s Annual Report

The Tribunal’s 2022-23 Annual Report can be found here.

TRIBUNAL CHAIR AND MEMBERS

MR STEPHEN SKEHILL

Mr Skehill was appointed as the Chair of the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal in 2020.  Mr Skehill’s career spans 28 years in the Australian Public Service and 23 years in private legal practice and consultancy.  His public service positions have included Principal Member of the Veterans’ Review Board, Australian Government Solicitor and Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department.  As Special Counsel with the major law firm now known as King & Wood Mallesons he specialised in administrative law, air and space law and telecommunications law.  He has also conducted numerous inquiries into public service structures, procedures and performance.

REAR ADMIRAL ALLAN DU TOIT AM RAN (Retd)

Rear Admiral du Toit was appointed to the Tribunal in May 2021.  He retired from the Royal Australian Navy as a Rear Admiral in early 2016 after 40 years combined service in two Commonwealth navies. He was born and raised in South Africa and entered the South African Navy in 1975. He joined the RAN in 1987 and commanded HMAS Tobruk during peacekeeping operations in Bougainville in 1998, the Australian Amphibious Task Group, the multi-national maritime interception force enforcing UN sanctions against Iraq, Combined Task Force 158 in the Persian Gulf, and Border Protection Command. He also served in a wide range of single-service and joint appointments ashore including Deputy Chief of Joint Operations, Head of Navy Capability and Head of Navy People. His final appointment was as Australia’s Military Representative to NATO in Brussels. Allan is currently non-executive director and chair of two defence industry companies, JFD Australia and Sonartech Atlas Australia. He is also the Strategic Maritime Adviser to the Northern Territory Government. Allan has written and lectured on historical and contemporary defence, naval and maritime affairs both in Australia and abroad and has recently been awarded his doctorate in naval history at the UNSW Canberra where he is a Visiting Fellow, Adjunct Lecturer and member of the Naval Studies Group. He served as President of the Australian Naval Institute from 2011-13.

MS KAREN FRYAR AM

Ms Fryar was appointed to the Tribunal in July 2021.

Ms Fryar recently retired after 26 years as a magistrate and coroner in the Australian Capital Territory. She had also previously been a presidential member of a number of ACT tribunals including the Mental Health Tribunal and the Guardianship and Management of Property Tribunal. Prior to being appointed to the bench of the ACT Magistrates Court, Ms Fryar’s early legal career covered time in private practice, the Australian Government Solicitor and the ACT Legal Aid Office.

In January 2020 Ms Fryar was appointed as the President of the Legal Aid Commission (ACT), and she also currently convenes mediations in civil litigation.

BRIGADIER DIANNE GALLASCH AM CSC (RETD)

Brigadier Gallasch was appointed to the Tribunal in January 2023. She retired from full time Army service in April 2016 after 33 years as a logistics officer. She has commanded at all rank levels and has extensive joint and multi-national experience in personnel, training and logistics. Operational postings include the Deputy Commander of the Force Logistics Support Group, East Timor in 1999/2000, the logistics plans officer with Multi-National Force Iraq in 2008 and the foundational Australian Director General Transition and Redeployment in the Middle East in 2012. Her last full-time position was as the Commandant of the Royal Military College of Australia. Since transitioning from full time service her primary role has been as an Inquiry Officer for the Australian Defence Force.

AIR COMMODORE ANTHONY GRADY AM (RETD)

Air Commodore Grady was appointed as a Member of the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal in July 2021.

Air Commodore Grady separated from Air Force in 2015 after 35 years of service as a pilot, with experience in rotary wing and strike aircraft. He has extensive command experience, principally within Air Combat Group and has filled a range of staff positions within Air Force, Air Command and the joint force. He has completed a number of operational tours in the Middle East. Air Commodore Grady has worked in Defence Industry, and holds two Masters degrees.

MS LOUISE HUNT

Ms Hunt was appointed to the Tribunal in August 2023.  She is a lawyer and holds statutory appointments as a part-time Senior Member of the Veterans’ Review Board having previously served as a Services Member of that Board. She is a member of the Law Council of Australia’s Military Justice Committee.

Prior to her appointment to the Veterans’ Review Board Ms Hunt’s legal career in private practice encompassed professional liability and discipline matters.

Ms Hunt is a serving Reserve Legal Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. She has served for over 35 years and holds the rank of Group Captain. She performs work on behalf of the Inspector General of the Australian Defence Force.

Ms Hunt holds Bachelor Degrees in Law and a Master of International Law.

MR JONATHAN HYDE

Jonathan is an experienced barrister at the NSW Bar.  He specialises in public and administrative law and is retained by a range of commonwealth and state government agencies and statutory authorities, including ASIC and the AFP.  He has considerable experience in royal commissions, commissions of inquiry and coronial inquests, and represented Cricket Australia, Queensland Cricket, and Tennis Australia at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  Between 2018 and 2020 he was counsel assisting the Australian Commissioner for Law Enforcement Integrity.  He is co-author of “Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Crime in Australia” (Lexis Nexis).

Jonathan was previously a Judge Advocate and Defence Force magistrate appointed by the current CDF and is a former president of the NSW RSL Discipline and Conduct Tribunal.  In 2006 he deployed to Iraq on Operation Catalyst.  He is presently appointed as a part time Deputy President of the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal which reviews patients that committed criminal acts but were found not criminally responsible as well as reviewing people to determine whether they have become fit to stand trial.

MAJOR GENERAL MARK KELLY, AO DSC (RETD)

Major General Kelly was appointed to the Tribunal in July 2021. He retired from the Army in June 2010 after 36 years as an Infantry officer. His senior command appointments include: Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment; Commander 3rd Brigade; Commander 1st Division; Land Commander Australia; and Commander Joint Task Force 633. His operational service includes: Zimbabwe/Rhodesia in 1979/1980; East Timor with INTERFET in 1999/2000; in the Middle East Area of Operations including Iraq, the Horn of Africa and Afghanistan in 2003/2004 and 2009/2010. He also served as the Repatriation Commissioner at the Department of Veteran Affairs from July 2010 until June 2019.

COMMODORE VICKI McCONACHIE CSC RAN (RETD)

Commodore McConachie served in the permanent Navy from 1984 to 2012 undertaking senior roles in both legal and non-legal capacities, including operational service in Iraq, being Head Navy People and Reputation, Director General Navy People and Director General ADF Legal Services. From 2012 until 2020 she was Chief General Counsel to a Commonwealth government entity and, while undertaking that role, she was also a non-executive director for Defence Housing Australia from 2013 to 2019. She holds Bachelor degrees in Arts (History) and Law and a Masters degree in Law.

MAJOR GARY MYCHAEL OAM CSM (RETD)

Major Mychael was appointed to the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal in January 2023.

Major Mychael enlisted into the Australian Regular Army in April 1979, after several Senior Leadership Group Regimental Sergeant Major appointments he commissioned to the rank of Major in January 2016 before transferring to the Active Reserve in September 2020. He has served in 3rd Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment, Parachute Training School, Soldier Career Management Agency, Headquarters 5th Brigade, Headquarters 2nd Division, Headquarters Forces Command, Headquarters Career Management Army and Australian Defence Force Parachuting School.

His Operational and Representational deployments include Malaysia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, the United States of America, Jordan, Afghanistan, and Middle East Area of Operations as Regimental Sergeant Major Joint Task Force 633, and on Operations Slipper, Accordion and Manitou.

 

AIR VICE-MARSHAL TRACY SMART AO (RETD)

BMBS, MPH, MA, Dip AvMed, FRACMA, FACAsM, FAsMA, FCDSS, FACHSM (Hon)  

AVM Smart is a physician, health leader, and retired Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) senior officer. Her 35-year RAAF career included many overseas deployments and culminated in the role of Surgeon General of the ADF.

AVM Smart is currently Professor, Military and Aerospace Medicine and Public Health Lead – COVID Response Office at the Australian National University. In addition, she is: President, Australasian College of Aerospace Medicine; Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne; and Strategic Advisor – LGBTI Inclusion, Department of Defence. She is also a member of various advisory and steering groups, including: the Australian Space Agency’s Technical Advisory Group on Space Medicine & Life Sciences; the Australian Football League’s Mental Health Steering Group; the Health Security Systems Australia, Divisional Advisory Panel; the Australian War Memorial Development Project Veterans’ Advisory Group; and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Veteran’s Advisory Group