*** DEBUG END ***

Australian Primate vote fails to elect

20 March 2020


The Archbishop of Brisbane, Dr Phillip Aspinall, pictured here in 2016, is likely to step in, in an interim capacity

The Archbishop of Brisbane, Dr Phillip Aspinall, pictured here in 2016, is likely to step in, in an interim capacity

THE panel charged with electing a new Australian Primate has failed to elect. The panel, which consists of the 23 diocesan bishops, 12 elected clergy, and 12 elected lay people, met in Sydney last Saturday. It has now been adjourned to a further meeting, at a date to be fixed before the end of June.

With the current Primate, Dr Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne, due to step down at the end of the month, it is expected that the most senior metropolitan archbishop, Dr Phillip Aspinall, Archbishop of Brisbane, will step in, in an interim capacity. The interim Primate will have to chair the meeting of the general synod that is scheduled to be held at the end of May.

The vote failed to reach the required majority by just one vote overall. Both the diocesan bishops and the laity returned substantial majorities in favour of the Archbishop of Adelaide, the Most Revd Geoffrey Smith. The clergy, however, were tied 6-6 for Archbishop Smith and the Bishop of Tasmania, Dr Richard Condie.

Dr Condie, who chairs GAFCON Australia, was strongly favoured by electors aligned with the diocese of Sydney. The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, was ineligible because he is shortly to retire.

Sources say that the push to elect Dr Condie — an unusual move, because, to date, only archbishops have been elected Primate in Australia — was a “carefully orchestrated plan” by the conservatives. Moderate electors, however, see the consistent strong support for Archbishop Smith among the bishops and lay electors as indicating that no GAFCON supporter is likely to be elected when the election process resumes.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available


Inspiration: The Influences That Have Shaped My Life

September - November 2024

St Martin in the Fields Autumn Lecture Series 2024

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


Visit our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)