In Question Time today Prime Minister Scott Morrison questioned whether Teddy Sheean had met the ‘high bar’ required for the awarding of the Victoria Cross.
“That Mr Morrison believes there is even a shadow of a doubt is a disgrace,” says federal Labor MP Brian Mitchell.
“The independent defence honours and awards appeals tribunal has stated categorically that Sheean deserves the VC, and the PM should do the right thing and stop blocking the nomination and progress it through the appropriate channels.”
Mr Morrison had been asked by Labor leader Anthony Albanese why he had ordered a “review of a review of a review of a review” instead of abiding by the unanimous advice of the DHAAT.
Mr Morrison replied he had set up a new panel - which includes on it former Liberal leader Brendan Nelson - to examine whether the “high bar” had been met, stating there had been conflicting advice in the past as to whether Sheean should be awarded the VC.
“There is no doubt that Teddy Sheean’s bravery exceeds the high bar required for the Victoria Cross, absolutely no doubt at all,” Mr Mitchell said.
“Australian Navy Chief, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan called Sheean’s action “the most conspicuous and most gallant we’ve ever seen in the navy”.
Mr Mitchell said the new panel was a face-saving exercise for the PM. If it backed the DHAAT he could say he was simply being careful, but if its advice conflicts with the DHAAT and it decides it doesn’t believe there is enough compelling new evidence to advance the nomination, the PM will use it as an excuse to block the Sheean VC nomination once and for all.