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Professor Brendan Murphy, who led Australia's COVID-19 response, named ACT Australian of the Year
Source: | Author:pro01a30d | Published time: 2020-11-03 | 1598 Views | Share:

Former chief medical officer Brendan Murphy, who steered the Federal Government and the country through the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been named the ACT's Australian of the Year.

Professor Murphy was the public face of the Government's pandemic response, and led the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, which designed the COVID-19 public health guidelines.

The course he set has been lauded internationally for helping to contain the spread of coronavirus in Australia.

Professor Murphy also made the difficult call to close Australia's borders to China early in the outbreak.

"Brendan provided expert advice to the Federal Government to close the international borders before the spread of COVID-19 – a decision which saved tens of thousands of Australian lives," award organisers said.

"Thanks to his calm leadership, Australia was able to prevent the COVID-19 virus taking hold in the community during the first wave of the global pandemic."


Professor Murphy left the chief medical officer role in June to take up his position as head of the Department of Health, an appointment that was temporarily put on hold due to the pandemic.

As he departed, he told the ABC how difficult some of the recommendations were to make.

"Two days after [physical distancing] measures were introduced, driving past Centrelink and seeing huge queues was gut-wrenching for me and for all the governments," he said at the time.

"We took what we thought was a proportionate middle ground and I think history has shown that that was largely correct."