ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
SHAYNE NEUMANN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS AND DEFENCE PERSONNEL
MEMBER FOR BLAIR
Labor welcomes the Prime Minister’s concession today that Teddy Sheean is a war hero fit to be awarded a Victoria Cross (VC).
Today’s outcome is the correct decision. Teddy showed extraordinary bravery, sacrificing his own life to save and protect his comrades.
The Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal (DHAAT), Teddy’s family and supporters, our veteran community and all Tasmanians can all be proud that they did not give up on this fight to finally see justice for Teddy.
But it should not have taken a review of a review to do the right thing.
Earlier this year, the Minister for Defence told the Senate:
“…the government’s view is that the 2019 review by the tribunal did not present any compelling new evidence that might support reconsideration of the valour inquiry’s recommendation. That is also my view, and that is also the view of Defence.”
But we know the independent DHAAT – the most appropriate body to make such recommendations – already found new evidence and recommended that Teddy be awarded a posthumous VC.
There was never any ambiguity in the evidence they found as the Prime Minister has suggested in his announcement today.
The Prime Minister’s backflip comes only now, even after:
- The independent DHAAT unanimously recommending Teddy be awarded a posthumous VC following its 2019 review;
- His own Minister for Defence Personnel was in support of this decision to award Sheean a posthumous VC;
- The Chair of the DHAAT felt compelled to write to the Minister for Defence, forcing her to correct the record because she got the facts so profoundly wrong and saying she had misled the Senate;
- There already being a review, which Mr Morrison responded to by initiating another review of a review on this issue;
- Mr Morrison explaining one of the reasons for not recommending a VC for Teddy was he didn’t want to offend the Queen;
- More time and money has been wasted, with this process costing the taxpayer more than $62,000 for his own personal review panel.
Labor congratulates Teddy’s family and their fellow Tasmanians who campaigned so strongly to recognise Teddy’s bravery in the way he deserves.
MONDAY, 10 AUGUST 2020