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When a complaint is received from the Ombudsman in either the Defence Force or Commonwealth jurisdictions, CR will take action to obtain necessary information from the relevant areas within Defence in order to provide a comprehensive Departmental response.

The CDF and the Secretary are principal officers within the meaning of the Ombudsman Act and as such are responsible for responding to matters raised by the Ombudsman. CDF and the Secretary have directed DGFR to investigate and respond to Ombudsman complaints.

On behalf of the Director General Fairness and Resolution, Complaint Resolution is responsible for:

  • responding to inquiries from the Ombudsman;
  • collecting and analysing information in relation to a complaint; and
  • providing an accurate and detailed response to the Ombudsman.

In cases that are more serious or for matters relating to defective administration, fraud or probity issues, Complaint Resolution prepares responses for the Secretary, CDF, or the Service Chiefs, as appropriate.

Where a complaint has become the subject of a formal report under section 15 - Reports by 'Ombudsman' or section 16 - 'Reports where appropriate action not taken on Ombudsman's report' of the Ombudsman Act, the Secretary or CDF, as appropriate, will respond to the Ombudsman.

Who can make a complaint?

Any person, including an ADF member, Defence APS employee or their families, may submit a complaint to the Ombudsman. However, where a complaint is made on behalf of another person, only a limited response may be possible, unless the permission of that person is provided.

Serving ADF members should first submit a ROG prior to submitting a complaint to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will not normal investigate a compliant until the ROG process has been completed, unless the complaint is about unreasonable delays in the ROG system, or complaints from members who have not been informed about the progress of their complaint at any time during the internal ROG process, or there are other exceptional circumstances.

The DFO will not normally investigate a complaint while it is being considered by a Minister; the ADF or another Commonwealth Agency; a court; or a tribunal or review body like the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Under the Ombudsman Act 1976, the DFO cannot investigate:

  • A grant or refusal to grant individual honours or awards related to bravery or meritorious service;
  • Disciplinary proceedings;
  • Actions of a government minister or a judge;
  • Actions of State or local governments;
  • Actions of private individuals or companies; and
  • Actions of a few Commonwealth agencies outside the DFO jurisdiction

The Commonwealth Ombudsman cannot investigate complaints about the actions of Government Ministers and politicians; private individuals; decision of courts and tribunals; public service employment disputes; actions of State or local governments; actions of some government business enterprises; and the actions of private businesses.

Submitting a Complaint

You can make a complaint to the Ombudsman by telephone, in person, in writing, by fax, or via their internet site.

Further Information

Further details on the legislation can be obtained from the Ombudsman website or by phoning 1300 395 776.

Alternatively, contact 1800 DEFENCE (1800 333 362), or email Complaint Resolution -