House debates

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Statements by Members

Sheean, Ordinary Seaman Edward (Teddy)

1:57 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

The point of having an independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal is to ensure that the only considerations are the evidence and merit. The tribunal unanimously supported Tasmanian hero Teddy Sheean getting a VC. But the Prime Minister tells us that we need a review of the review, all because he can't admit that he got it wrong and that the government should just act on the recommendations, which were unanimous.

Now we hear that the Liberal Party pollster Media Reach is conducting polling in Tasmania on Sheean receiving the VC. After asking respondents about how they would vote if an election were held today and how likely they were to change their mind between now and 2022, they were asked, 'Which issue do you feel is the most important for Tasmania right now, that being something that your federal politicians could do something about?' Awarding Teddy Sheean a VC was listed as an option, amongst others.

Then respondents were asked whether they were aware or unaware of a random selection of news from the past month, including this question: 'Were you aware that the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States have turned violent? And were you previously aware that the federal government rejected a recommendation to award the VC to Tasmanian World War II sailor Teddy Sheean?'

This is entirely inappropriate! A decision to award a VC is not a popularity contest. On the merits, Teddy Sheean is worthy of the Victoria Cross.