Health experts have dominated Australia’s Queen’s birthday honours. 

Former chief health officer Dr Brendan Murphy has been appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), one of 92 people recognised over the weekend for their work during the pandemic.

Dr Murphy said his appointment was “very humbling” and should reflect the “great fortune” he has experienced in his career, alongside the “brilliant and talented” people he has worked with.

He said he “didn’t expect to be in the thick of the pandemic”, but said that his two most important pieces of advice to the federal government were the call to close the borders, and to introduce lockdowns and restrictions.

He said the gravity of the pandemic “really hit home” when he drove past Centrelink and saw queues around the block, and to witness the crisis in aged care in 2020.

Dr Murphy is now the federal health department secretary. His AC was awarded “for eminent service to medical administration and community health, particularly as chief medical officer, and to nephrology, to research and innovation, and to professional organisations”.

New South Wales chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, has been awarded an AO for “distinguished service to the people of NSW through public health administration and governance, and to medicine”.

Professor Mary-Louise McLaws received an AO for her service to epidemiology, infection prevention and health administration. Former Queensland chief health officer (now Queensland governor) Jeannette Young was awarded an AC.