Defence rejects Tribunal recommendation that Sheean be awarded VC

In the interests of full disclosure, CONTACT acknowledges we are late to the party on this issue, because we’ve been fully engaged in preparing the next issue of the magazine for publication

Defence has issued a statement backing the government’s recent announcement that Ordinary Seaman Teddy Sheean not be posthumously granted a Victoria Cross.

Despite a 2019 Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal recommendation that a VC be awarded to Sheean, Defence recently issued a statement saying they stand behind the government’s position.

“Defence’s view on the 2019 review conducted by the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal, is that it presented no compelling new evidence nor any evidence of manifest injustice,” a Defence spokesperson said.

Those words were repeated by the Minister for Defence in the Senate and by the Prime Minister in public.

Speaking of the Prime Minister – in the video below, he tells Alan Jones that Keith Payne VC wouldn’t support this – yet Keith Payne VC told the same radio jock that he definitely would…

Senator Jacqui Lambie has also made public a letter from the Chair of the Tribunal accusing the Minister of misrepresenting the Tribunal.

Other media outlets have also reported that the PM may reconsider his position.

Defence’s position is essentially that they like and support the 2013 findings of the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal, which wasn’t specifically about Sheean, but don’t like or support the 2019 recommendations of the same ‘independent’ Tribunal, which was specifically about Sheean.

On 23 July 2019 the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal decided to recommend to the Minister for Defence Personnel that:

  1. a)  The decision by the Chief of Navy to refuse to recommend the award of the Victoria Cross for Australia to Ordinary Seaman Edward Sheean in respect of his actions in HMAS Armidale during a Japanese aerial attack in the Timor Sea on 1 December 1942 be set aside.
  2. b)  The Minister recommend to the Sovereign that Ordinary Seaman Edward Sheean be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia for the most conspicuous gallantry and a pre-eminent act of valour in the presence of the enemy in HMAS Armidale during a Japanese aerial attack in the Timor Sea on 1 December 1942.

The members of the Tribunal who considered and endorsed these recommendations were Chair of the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal Mark Sullivan, former Regimental Sergeant Major of the Australian Army David Ashley, former Commandant of the Royal Military College Duntroon Brigadier (Retd) Mark Bornholt, and Nadia Isenberg who has a long legal background at a senior level in both the Commonwealth and NSW governments, and the private sector – and is a serving lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve.

The full report of the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal can be found here.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Minister Chester’s words and apparent attitude expressed shortly before the Tribunal heard submissions seem at odds with the government’s current stance, thought would appear from Jacqui Lambie’s info that Mr Chester was in favour of both the review and its findings, but was vetoed.

Furthermore, a thorough reading of the Tribunal report, especially in light of the rejection of the Tribunal’s finding’s, leaves me with a whole new, unflattering opinion of the current Chief of Navy.

I am also left with an overwhelming feeling that “something else is going on here”, of which I am sadly ignorant.

 

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

10 thoughts on “Defence rejects Tribunal recommendation that Sheean be awarded VC

  • 26/06/2020 at 2:07 pm
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    This seems to be a column/response thread for revealing one’s vested political loyalties when what has been lost amidst the backslapping and childish hi-fives is a young man whose bravery in a wartime attack context – and courage and life taken – has had that feat totally dismissed time and time again by the rightwing politicians and military chiefs – including a lying (or at best “confused”) PM just recently. I now understand why most military acts of courage only appear to be rewarded if the person is at officer level. It reminds one of the levels involved in Order of Australia honours – the highest ranking going to certain well-remunerated politicians and civil servants – many of very questionable ethical behaviour – supposedly for service. Nope! Simply more passing the honours around among a tiny select group from the compromised committee. Give Sheean his VC. Posthumously – for true gallantry.

    Reply
  • 01/06/2020 at 9:23 am
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    Disgraceful. It sounds like the system is going back to the time of Vietnam when service personnel were being nominated for awards by the Americans and never getting them or the awards down graded massively.

    Reply
    • 01/06/2020 at 1:30 pm
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      I concur…..but …if the ordinary seamen.
      Had of been ….a cadet officer..or a sub-leuitant….on the GUN …The VC would have been
      Award…in the blink of an eye..
      (Wardroom snobbery .that an officer
      Cannot be awarded a award
      Lower than what an “ordinary seamen
      Be awarded)************

      Reply
  • 31/05/2020 at 6:04 pm
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    Perhaps if he had acquired excellence in gender studies, or if he was trans, he would have been suitably rewarded because he met the new defence standards of behaviour.

    Forget about his giving his life for his country by fighting the enemy to the end because that sort of behaviour is so last century.

    Let’s move forward to the new era of defence of Australia where brave bronzed Anzac types need not apply.

    Reply
  • 31/05/2020 at 2:18 pm
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    But come nomination time for awards, senior defence members fall over themselves nominating and getting nominated for bling that is now a compulsory or so it seems part of being a senior in defence.

    Reply
  • 31/05/2020 at 10:04 am
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    Its a political football that left the actions of Sheean behind a long time ago….the man was and is a hero, a posthumous award doesn’t do anything to enhance or diminish his actions which resulted in his death. Nor does it diminish the esteem and inspiration his action provide to all past present and future members of the senior service or the rest of us for that matter.

    To illustrate just how political its become Bill Shorten (or is that Bull Shitten?) tweeted how he was ‘struggling to understand why honouring a young SOLDIER who gave his life…’…yup says it all really.

    Reply
    • 31/05/2020 at 10:13 am
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      Lest we Forget.

      [Bull Shitten – I like that 🙂 ]

      Reply
      • 02/06/2020 at 6:57 pm
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        Please use it as much as he deserves.

        Reply
      • 04/06/2020 at 11:29 pm
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        Brian, don’t forget, SHIFTY SHORTEN, ( you can use that anytime ) and of course not to be left out our latest great Labor politician, the Dishonorable chairman Mao Andrews, who is just the latest in a long line of Australian hating Labor politicians.

        Reply

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