Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel


June 10, 2020

The Morrison Government’s stubborn refusal to award Teddy Sheean a posthumous Victoria Cross (VC) has become a total farce.
Today, in response to Labor’s questions in the Senate, the Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds revealed the Government will conduct a review into the independent review that recommended Teddy Sheean receive a posthumous VC.
Rather than saying he got it wrong, the Prime Minister is wasting time and taxpayer money with a review into a review.
The Chief of Navy and Defence have previously acknowledged that the independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal (DHAAT) was the most appropriate decision-making body to decide on these matters.
The DHAAT was established to take the politics out of these decisions.
Rather than admit he got it wrong and accept the recommendations of the independent umpire, the Prime Minister has politicised this process.
Why is this Prime Minister so incapable of saying he made a mistake?
The DHAAT was extremely clear: it recommended a posthumous VC based on new and compelling evidence of Teddy Sheean’s bravery and the version of events at the time was inaccurate and understated his actions.
The Morrison Government’s response to the Tribunal’s recommendations has trashed the process.
First, the Minister for Defence Personnel was supportive of the decision, but was rolled by his colleagues.
Then the Minister for Defence had to correct the record because she got the facts so profoundly wrong the Chair of the DHAAT felt compelled to write to her saying she had misled the Senate.
Now the Prime Minister has ordered a review into an independent review because he cannot admit he was wrong.
The DHAAT, Teddy’s family and supporters, our veteran community, and all Tasmanians are right to be outraged at this development.