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Health secretary Brendan Murphy defines woman two months after struggling with question

Australian health chief who asks the fundamental question ‘what is a woman?’ couldn’t answer. FINALLY 2 months later comes with a definition – but it’s 78 words long

  • Health bureaucrat who struggled to define ‘woman’ replied months later
  • dr. Brendan Murphy Stumbled Over Words During an April Senate Estimate
  • Ministry of Health released a statement on Friday finally revealing the definition

A top health bureaucrat who struggled to define a woman when questioned by a Liberal senator finally provided an answer two months later.

Health Secretary Dr. Brendan Murphy stumbled over his words when asked to define a woman by Liberal Senator Alex Antic during Senate estimates in April.

“Perhaps to give a more complete answer, we should take that into account,” he said.

dr. Murphy remained silent on the subject before responding in a statement released this week by the Department of Health, 2GB reported.

The definition has a length of 78 words and contains the sentence: ‘The Ministry of Health does not adopt any definition’.

Health Secretary Dr.  Brendan Murphy (pictured) stumbled over his words when asked to define a woman by Liberal Senator Alex Antic during Senate estimates in April

Health Secretary Dr. Brendan Murphy (pictured) stumbled over his words when asked to define a woman by Liberal Senator Alex Antic during Senate estimates in April

dr.  Murphy had been silent on the subject since the hearing before finally giving his definition via a statement released Friday by the Department of Health (stock image)

dr. Murphy had been silent on the subject since the hearing before finally giving his definition via a statement released Friday by the Department of Health (stock image)

“The frameworks adopted to define a person’s gender include chromosomal makeup … the gender assigned at birth … and the gender a person identifies with,” the statement reads.

THE AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DEFINITION OF ‘WOMAN’

The frameworks adopted to define a person’s gender include chromosomal composition, the gender assigned at birth, and the gender a person identifies with.

The Ministry of Health does not have an unambiguous definition.

Health policies and access to health programs are based on clinical evidence and clinical need for all Australians regardless of gender identity, biological characteristics or genetic variations.

Our programs are designed to be inclusive and to provide better health and wellbeing for all Australians.

Health policies and access to health programs are based on clinical evidence and clinical need for all Australians. That is regardless of gender identity, biological characteristics or genetic variations.”

‘Our programs are designed to be inclusive and provide better health and wellbeing for all Australians’.

Mr Antic called the response ‘absolute nagging’.

The Liberal senator had initially asked for the definition of a woman and posed the question to several Health Department bosses before the room went silent.

“Can someone please tell me what a definition of a woman is?” he asked.

‘Department of Health – (what is the) definition of a man, definition of a woman, anyone? Basic things.’

He then directed the question to Dr. Murphy, who laughed as he struggled to find the right words.

“I think there are different definitions,” he said.

Mr Antic then asked for a simple answer.

“Perhaps to give a more complete answer, we should take that into account.”

Mr Antic then asked why the Minister of Health had to take note of such a simple question.

“It’s a very… er… it’s a very contentious space right now,” Dr. Murphy.

Liberal Senator Alex Antic asked Australia's Department of Health to define a woman in April

Liberal Senator Alex Antic asked Australia’s Department of Health to define a woman in April

“There are definitions in how people identify, so that’s what we like to give our working definitions about.”

The senator called his response “hilarious” and said it was “the best thing I’ve seen so far” during the hearings.

The senator speculated whether the authorities were afraid to give a definition for fear that they would offend some people and the police would retaliate.

“People who five years ago would have easily answered a simple question now almost seem to look over their shoulder and wonder who’s coming to get them. It’s extraordinary,” he added.

Mr Antic said he was looking forward to hearing back what the health department’s definition was, while 2GB host Ben Fordham said his primary school age children could have easily answered the question.

‘I have children in primary school. If I asked them tonight they would know the answer, but either way our health secretary apparently needs a month to come up with an answer,” the radio host said.

Health Secretary Dr Brendan Murphy stumbled over his words as he tried to define what a woman is, saying there was a 'variety' of definitions

Health Secretary Dr Brendan Murphy stumbled over his words when trying to define what a woman is, saying there was a ‘variety’ of definitions

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