Service Records

In 2012 the Association followed up its serious concern over the current practice of the National Archives making available to the general public the service records of members and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) during the “open access period” as defined in the Archives Act 1983.  The Association understood that the practice was that any member of the public, upon payment of the prescribed fee, can obtain a copy of the entire service record of any ADF member or ex-member where that record is in the open access period.
A case brought to our attention revealed that not only were the details of the ex-member’s service history (such as dates of enlistment and discharge, promotions, service postings and duties performed in such postings) supplied, but also personal details such as confidential performance reports and medical history records.
This was done without any reference to the ex-serviceman concerned and we believe the release of such personal information to be a gross invasion of the ex-serviceman’s privacy.
Our further understanding wasthat while the National Archives, under the “open access period” rule, must make available to the public all such personal and private records, it will not reveal the identity of the person who has made application for access to such records, nor does it appear that it has any control over the purpose for which those records will be used.
It seemed to us that there was a clear imbalance of privacy interests in operation here !

Following our lobbying, in an important ruling for the ex-service community in 2015 the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has ruled that personal confidential information included in former ADF members’ departmental personal files will no longer be freely available to members of the general public

Further infomation on this ruling can be found on page 26 of Camaraderie Vol 46 No 2, or read the extract here.

Links to some related issues prior to January 2012 are below..


247 Update - February 2010
Accident and Death Insurance for Serving Members - Release of Service records - Military Superannuation: ABC Q&A Program
257 Update - February 2011
The Fair Indexation Bill - Living Cost Increases Outpace inflation - Senate Questions on Notice - Review of DFA Funded Support - Minister's Response - Release of Service Records - Our thanks to the ADF
262 Update - July 2011
A Serviceman and Womens Right to Privacy - Who Cares ? - Meeting with Departmental Officials
272 Update - June 2012
Military Superannuation - ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement 2011-2014 - Release of Service Records - Jet Fuel Exposure - Military Court of Australia - Unfair Balance of Legal Resources at the Administrative Appeals tribunal - Application Fee for Submissions to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
30 June 2011