ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
WEDNESDAY, 3 JUNE 2020
SUBJECTS: Teddy Sheean; US riots.
ALEX CULLEN, HOST: The Opposition Leader, Anthony Albanese, says it is time Teddy’s bravery and sacrifice is recognised. I tend to agree with him. He joins us live in Canberra. G’day, Albo.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Good morning.
CULLEN: Has politics got in the way here?
ALBANESE: It has. That was the thing I find perplexing about Scott Morrison’s comment about politicians making decisions. Let’s be very clear here; there is an independent tribunal that’s established. It has historians, but it also has veterans on it. It has experts. And it made a unanimous recommendation that Teddy Sheean was entitled to a VC. That was then. And after that event, was when the politicians intervened to deny the independent tribunal. It is not like this doesn’t happen every day, every week or every year. This is the only recommendation they’ve made for a VC. Teddy Sheean, if this isn’t worthy of a VC, I don’t know what is. This is an 18- year-old Tasmanian, wounded, he wasn’t a gunner, who goes and sees that the Japanese planes are continuing to fire on the Australians in the water. His mates. He goes, he straps himself to the gun, knowing that that would mean absolutely certain death and he is still seen by his mates disappearing beneath the water, still firing at the Japanese. He brings down at least one plane and damages others and his mates in the water gave evidence at the time, and to his relatives after the event as well, that they regard that he helped to save their lives. The tribunal considered all of the new evidence that had been attainable about the events of December 1, 1942 and made a unanimous recommendation. I simply think politicians shouldn’t be a part of this process, it should proceed with the recommendation of the tribunal.
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Albo, we appreciate your sentiments on that. I think it is widespread, the support for this VC, and hopefully the Prime Minister can rethink it. A quick word on the riots in the United States with protests planned here for the weekend. The PM has called for calm. There is a level of anger in the community. Do you think we have got issues here?
ALBANESE: Certainly, there are issues here but nothing like the United States. It is important that leaders seek to unite the nation. And I think here in Australia, if you compare with what’s going on in the US, I just look over there, I think about, there’s more than 100,000 former US citizens who have made Australia their home and I know that many of them will be worried about what’s occurring in their nation. It doesn’t look great to me. It looks extremely troubling and a deeply divided society. And I just hope that this great democracy is able to unite and come together as soon as possible.
ALLISON LANGDON, HOST: I think we’re all hoping for that but at the moment it’s not looking very likely. Anthony Albanese, thanks for your time this morning, we appreciate it.
ALBANESE: Thanks very much.