Peacekeeping Force | Service Eligibility Assistant, Additional Information, Understanding Service Eligibility Instruments

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Peacekeeping Force

VEA section 68(1)

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Peacekeeping Force

This term relates to peacekeeping service under the VEA. In order for a person to have rendered peacekeeping service, they must have served as a member of a Peacekeeping Force. This is generally only applicable up to about 1997 when warlike and non-warlike service were introduced, as operations that meet the definition of peacekeeping service also fit within the definition of non-warlike service. This means that from that point onwards, operations that would have previously been declared peacekeeping service are instead declared non-warlike service.  It is therefore anticipated that there will be no further declarations of Peacekeeping Forces in the future.

What is a Peacekeeping Force?

A Peacekeeping Force includes those set out in Schedule 3 of the VEA, and any further Peacekeeping Forces designated in writing by the Minister (via a notice published in the Gazette).

The intention (as described in section 68(1) of the VEA) is that a force will be designated as a Peacekeeping Force if it is raised for service outside Australia in a peacekeeping capacity or in a monitoring or observation capacity in a situation that may lead to an outbreak of hostilities.

A general rule of thumb is that a Peacekeeping Force involves military personnel, without powers of enforcement, who help restore and maintain peace in an area of conflict with the consent of all parties. These operations can encompass but are not limited to:

  • activities short of Peace Enforcement where the authorisation of the application of force is normally limited to minimum force necessary for self-defence;

  • activities, such as the enforcement of sanctions in a relatively benign environment which expose individuals or units to ‘hazards’ as described above;

  • military observer activities with the task of monitoring cease-fires, redirecting and alleviating cease-fire tensions, providing ‘good offices’ for negotiations and the impartial verification of assistance or cease-fire agreements, and other like activities; or

  • activities that would normally involve the provision of humanitarian relief (not including normal peacetime operations such as cyclone or earthquake relief flights or assistance).

Who can serve with a Peacekeeping Force?

Anyone who has been appointed or allocated to a Peacekeeping Force and has actually served outside Australia in that Peacekeeping Force, either as an Australian member of the Peacekeeping Force or a member of the Australian Contingent of the Peacekeeping Force, meets the criteria for having served with the Peacekeeping Force.  This is not limited to members of the Australian Defence Force, but can also include members of the Australian Federal Police as well as officers seconded from State and Territory Police forces who serve with relevant Peacekeeping Forces.

However, Australian employees of the United Nations Organisation or of private or government welfare organisation during a peacekeeping mission are neither part of an Australian contingent nor members of a Peacekeeping Force.   

Currently, those declared to be members of a Peacekeeping Force include mainly members of the Australian Defence Force and members of Federal, State and Territory Police.

What eligibility does service with a Peacekeeping Force provide?

Under the VEA, peacekeeping service provides eligibility broadly similar to that of operational service.  This includes access to compensation for injury, disease and death and associated services relating to that peacekeeping service, under the more generous ‘reasonable hypothesis’ test and ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard of proof.  Like operational service, it also provides access to Non Liability Health Care treatment for cancer (malignant neoplasm) and pulmonary tuberculosis in addition to the mental health treatment available to all current and former serving members with one or more days of continuous full-time service.  Under the MRCA, service that meets the description of VEA peacekeeping service is considered non-warlike service and attracts similar compensation entitlements.

As peacekeeping service does not meet the requirements for qualifying service, it does not provide eligibility for the service pension.

Future Peacekeeping Operations

Since the introduction of warlike and non-warlike service in 1997, operations that meet the definition of peacekeeping service also fit within the definition of non-warlike service.  As a result, operations that would previously have been declared peacekeeping service are instead declared non-warlike service.  It is therefore anticipated that there will be no further declarations of Peacekeeping Forces in the future.