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Joint Service Flags (Australia)

Last modified: 2005-03-12 by
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[Australian Defence Force Ensign] by Ralph Kelly, standardised by Miles Li, 8 Nov 2004


See also:


Defence Force Ensign (Tri-service Flag)

The "Australian Defence Force Ensign" has been proclaimed in Commonwealth of Australia Gazette Special Issue No. S190, Friday 14 April 2000, under Section 5 of the Flags Act as a "flag of Australia". This is similar to the gazettal of the Royal Australian Naval Ensign and more recently the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags. In effect it is a form of Government copyright declaration.

I understand that the flag is the same as Flag 4 on page 29 (correction number 30) of Album des Pavillons. It is a vertical tricolour of Dark Blue, Red, Light Blue with a large Joint Services Emblem in yellow in the centre, extending into the two blue bands. The Joint Services Emblem is a combination of a naval anchor, airforce wings, crossed army swords over a boomerang and a Commonwealth star as crest. In Album des Pavillons it is identified as both the flag of the Minister of Defence and the Joint Services Flag.

The flag has been used on such occasions as required to reflect joint facilities and joint services of the military, with the RAN ensign, RAAF ensign and Australian Blue Ensign used where only one military branch is involved. The most significant joint facility is the Defence Forces Officer Training Academy at Duntroon.
Ralph Kelly, 17 Apr 2000

In Album 2000, the emblem is a mirror image of the one above
Željko Heimer, 5 February 2001

Another aspect is that a statutory rule made under Section 7 of the Flags Act 1953 was also proclaimed specifying that the Australian Defence Force Ensign will take precedence over the Australian White Ensign and the Royal Australian Air Force Ensign. This aspect has upset Australian National Flag Association which has taken the view that the newly authorised ensign should not rank ahead of derivatives of the Australian National Flag.
Ralph Kelly, 18 Apr 2000

My initial reaction to this was that it was obvious that the flag should rank ahead of other ensigns, because the Defence Force as a whole ranks higher than each individual service, meaning that the problem ANFA have the arrangement is that a high ranking flag has been designed without using the 'normal Australian ensign template'

Then I thought again - the situation can be looked at differently. The white and RAAF ensigns could be seen as flags representing Australia, as used by the navy and air force respectively, rather than flags specifically representing the navy or the air force. This aplies to the naval ensign more so than to the RAAF ensign, I suppose. This would make the navy and air forces's use of their ensigns more in line with the army's use of the blue ensign. In this case, the ensigns would appear to outrank the combined services flag, and ANFA's problem is not so much to do with how Australia is represented, but the fact that a flag representing the Defence Force, rather than Australia, is being given higher priority.
Jonathan Dixon, 19 Apr 2000

I suspect that although an official flag of Australia, the Australian Joint Forces flag couldn't be used on its own to represent Australia, whereas the Australian white and RAAF ensigns can, so the rank would be ambiguous in an international situation.
Graham Bartram, 19 Apr 2000


Minster for Defence

According to Album 2000, the Minister for Defence uses the joint services flag with proportions 2:3 as a car flag.
Željko Heimer, 5 February 2001

The RAAF Manual of Ceremonial, AAP 5135.002, which is downloadable at this Air Cadet Corps site, shows a vertical triband, 1:2, dark blue with a modern-style gold anchor, red with crossed swords, and light blue with the wedge-tailed eagle from the RAAF badge, also in gold. The footnote says this is used only as a car flag.
Joe McMillan, 22 November 2003


Chief of Defence Force

According to Album 2000, the Chief of Defence Force's flag is a horizontally striped joint services flag with four five pointed stars in the bottom stripe.
Željko Heimer, 5 February 2001

This flag is flown with the Chief of Navy, Chief of Army and Chief of Air Force flags outside the Department of Defence in Canberra almost daily.
Miles Li, 27 February 2002

The RAAF Manual of Ceremonial, AAP 5135.002, which is downloadable at this Air Cadet Corps site, shows this flag for the Chief of Defence Force, but with the word "AUSTRALIA" below the boomerang in the badge. The footnote says this can be used as a car flag or as a masthead flag flown on "RAAF establishments, joint service lodger units or at the parade area to mark the appointment of the reviewing officer".
Joe McMillan, 22 November 2003


Other Joint Services Command rank flags

Major General

[Major Gen. in joint services command flag] by Miles Li, 8 Nov 2004

This flag [the joint services flag with two gold stars beneath the emblem] is used by major generals (army) commanding joint services institutions; it is currently used by Commander, Australian Defence College.
Miles Li, 8 November 2004


Chief of Australian Imperial Military Force (WWII)

The flag of the Chief of Australian Imperial Military Force (WWII) was the Australian National Flag with the army 'Rising Sun' in gold at the centre of the lower half of the flag. (source: recent Flag Society of Australia meeting in Sydney )
Miles Li, 27 February 2002

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