Professor Brendan Murphy

Former Chief Medical Officer to the Federal Government

ACTState RecipientAustralian of the Year2021

Professor Brendan Murphy is the former Government Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and current Secretary of the Department of Health.

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. 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.

In his role as CMO, Brendan, as Chair of the Australian Health Principal Protection Committee (AHPPC)  provided clear consensus guidance to all Australian Governments around shutting down Australian business and community activities. AHPPC, under his leadership, was responsible for introducing physical distancing measures – and overseeing their implementation in Australia before WHO advice and in advance of other developed countries.

A respected medical expert, Brendan chairs many national committees, and represents Australia at the World Health Assembly.