Teddy Sheean’s VC decision came at a huge taxpayer cost
MORE than $90,000 was spent on an expert panel which ultimately decided Tasmanian war hero Teddy Sheean was worthy of a Victoria Cross, it has been revealed.
A contract for one of the panel members, NSW Anzac Memorial historian Brad Manera, has been published online, showing he was paid $29,451 for his services.
Remuneration for two other members - former secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Peter Shergold and former Solicitor-General David Bennett - has been published previously, showing they were paid $31,450 each.
The chairman of the panel, former Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson, did not accept payment.
This means the total cost of the review was $92,441.
Federal Labor Deputy Leader Richard Marles said the taxpayer should not have been billed that figure because the independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal had already recommended the honour, which was rejected by the government in May.
"An unnecessary $90,000 and three months later, like the rest of Tasmania, Labor was happy to see the Prime Minister come to his senses,'' he said.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet previously confirmed the expert panel was remunerated at a daily fee of $1500 up to a maximum of 14 days, plus travel related expenses up to a maximum of $10,450.
Fees and expenses were paid upon invoice from each member, the department said.
After weeks of deliberations, the panel recommended Sheean for the Victoria Cross, after a decades-long campaign for Sheean to be honoured for his actions during World War II.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison accepted the recommendation and the Queen approved the honour soon after.
Sheean became the first member of the Royal Australian Navy to be recognised with the Victoria Cross.
The 18-year-old sailor saved the lives of many shipmates in 1942 after ignoring orders to abandon the HMAS Armidale which had come under heavy Japanese fire.
Sheean manned an Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun and was able to bring down one plane and damage two more before dying strapped to the weapon.
He kept firing until he went down with the ship as it sank.
Evidence of his determination from the archives of the Japanese armed forces helped the case.
Originally published as Teddy Sheean's VC decision came at a huge taxpayer cost