COVID adviser Murphy given ACT honour

Paul Osborne
·2-min read

When it came to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison adopted Murphy's Law.

But it wasn't the traditional adage that "anything that can go wrong will go wrong".

It was listening and acting on the health advice laid down by Professor Brendan Murphy, who on Monday night was named the ACT's Australian of the Year.

He has been credited with saving tens of thousands of Australian lives.

And now the former chief medical officer is in the running to be named the national Australian of the Year.

Prof Murphy's advice to the Morrison government to close Australia's borders before the spread of COVID-19 was key to avoiding the crisis wracking the rest of the world.

Now secretary of the federal health department, Prof Murphy showed calm leadership as federal, state and territory governments wrestled with community transmission.

As chair of the Australian Health Principal Protection Committee he provided clear consensus guidance to governments around shutting down Australian business and community activities.

The move to adopt physical distancing and other key measures came before World Health Organisation advice and in advance of other developed countries.

On the international stage, Prof Murphy represents Australia at the World Health Assembly.

The ACT's Senior Australian of the Year is writer and Indigenous health advocate Patricia Anderson.

Salvation Army youth worker Tara McClelland was named ACT Young Australian of the Year, while the territory's Local Hero is Timothy Miller.

Mr Miller is the founder of Lids4Kids, a national organisation which encourages households, schools, businesses, and organisations to collect plastic lids to be recycled into sustainable products for children.

National Australia Day Council CEO Karlie Brand said the four ACT award recipients were dedicated to protecting and helping others, with a common thread of concern for health and wellbeing.

"They are doing important work and making great contributions - giving ACT residents plenty of reasons to feel proud," she said.