Defence Force complaints

We are external to Defence and our services are free.

Who can make a complaint

  • serving members of the Australian Defence Force
  • former members of the Australian Defence Force
  • spouses and dependants of members.

What we can help with

Administrative matters, which Defence or Defence agencies have not resolved. This includes:

  • Australian Defence Force
  • Department of Defence
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Defence Housing Australia.

We can also receive reports of serious abuse within Defence. This provides a confidential mechanism to report serious abuse for those who feel unable, for whatever reason, to access Defence’s internal mechanisms.

Read more information about our reporting abuse function here.

Serving members

We are not able to investigate complaints about:

  • individual honours and awards
  • Defence discipline matters, or
  • decisions of Ministers, members of parliament, courts and some tribunals.

We cannot investigate complaints from serving members who have not first sought a Redress of Grievance from Defence, unless you are making a report of abuse.

We can receive complaints about administrative actions taken by Defence relating to or arising from present or past service including:

  • a promotion
  • a demotion
  • discharge
  • postings
  • housing
  • allowances or other matters affecting your service.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome, the time taken to resolve the Redress of Grievance, or have not received updates about the progress of your complaint, you can complain to us.

Former members

We can receive complaints about:

  • Veterans’ Affairs benefits
  • Compensation
  • Defence Service Home Loans
  • Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme.


We can receive complaints from members of the public about Defence agencies or Australian Defence Force related matters.

Before you make a complaint

You should try to resolve the matter with the relevant agency first, unless you are reporting abuse, in which case there is no need to have reported the matter to Defence before coming to us.

If you are a serving member not making a report of abuse, you must use the Redress of Grievance process first. If this has not resolved the matter, you may complain to us.

How to make a complaint

You can contact us to make a complaint using our online complaint formby telephone, in person, in writing or by fax.

If you are making the complaint on behalf of someone else, you will need to complete our Permission for another person to act on my behalf form, and ensure you have their permission to make the complaint.