Brendan Murphy named 2021 Australian Father of the Year

Health secretary, former chief medial officer Brendan Murphy named father of the year

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Dr Brendan Murphy with wife Sally and their sons Alex and Ben. Picture: Supplied

Dr Brendan Murphy with wife Sally and their sons Alex and Ben. Picture: Supplied

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The former chief medical officer and current Health Department secretary has been lauded ahead of Father's Day on Sunday.

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He was at the forefront of Australia's unfolding coronavirus pandemic but he was also a father and grandfather.

Former chief medical officer now Department of Health secretary Dr Brendan Murphy has been named as the 2021 Australian Father of the Year.

The Australian Father's Day Council and The Shepherd Centre, a not-for-profit organisation for children with hearing loss, announced the decision on Friday ahead of Father's Day on Sunday.

Dr Murphy with grand-daughter Anna. Picture: Supplied

Dr Murphy with grand-daughter Anna. Picture: Supplied

While Dr Murphy is best known for his role in supporting Australia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he is also a proud father of his sons Ben and Alex, and grandfather to Anna (3) and Emily (1). This award recognises Dr Murphy's dedication to his family and his confidence in guiding Australians through the pandemic with care as it started to unfold in March .

"Being named Australian Father of the Year is a huge and unexpected honour," Dr Murphy said.

"Fatherhood is a unique and humbling experience that has changed me profoundly, and informed my values to have a stronger focus on family and community. A truly wonderful part of fatherhood has been the joy of reliving aspects of it again as a grandparent."

Dr Murphy's recognition as Australian Father of the Year 2021 is timely as Australia - and the world - continues to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The award was also an opportunity to highlight the incredible efforts of the thousands of Australian healthcare professionals who are working on the COVID-19 front line and helping to ensure the wellbeing of our friends, families, colleagues and neighbours.

Dr Murphy with wife Sally and their sons Ben and Alex when they were younger. Picture: Supplied

Dr Murphy with wife Sally and their sons Ben and Alex when they were younger. Picture: Supplied

Dr Murphy has had a dynamic medical career, having worked up the ranks at St Vincent's Hospital to be appointed Director of Nephrology. He later went on to become the CEO of Austin Health Hospital until he stepped into the role of Chief Medical Officer of Australia, and more recently Secretary of the Department of Health.

The Shepherd Centre and the Australian Father's Day Council aim to recognise dads and father figures, like Dr Murphy, who have played an instrumental role in supporting Australia's ongoing COVID-19 response.

Dr Jim Hungerford, CEO of The Shepherd Centre, said he was honoured to award the Dr Murphy this year's title.

"Dr Murphy is an outstanding father and dedicated healthcare professional, who played a critical role in our nation's response to COVID-19 through 2020. He is a wonderful role model and we are delighted to award him with the Australian Father of the Year Award for 2021," Dr Hungerford said.

The Australian Father's Day Council also named psychiatrist, mental health advocate, Dr Mark Cross, as the 2021 Community Father of the Year.

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