[ACNS, by Staff Writer] The Archbishop of Melbourne, Philip Freier, steps down as Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia today (Tuesday) without a successor in place. A meeting of the primatial Board of Electors met in Sydney earlier this month (14 March) but failed to reach agreement on who the next primate will be.
Archbishop Philip will continue to serve as Archbishop of Melbourne. The Archbishop of Brisbane, Phillip Aspinall – himself a former primate – will serve as interim primate until a successor for Archbishop Philip is elected.
By the third round of voting, the Archbishop of Adelaide, Geoffrey Smith, had achieved a clear majority over the Bishop of Tasmania, Richard Condie, in the Houses of Bishops and Laity; but did not receive a majority in the House of Clergy.
The House of Bishops voted 15-8 in favour of Archbishop Geoffrey; and the House of Laity voted 9-3 for him. The House of Clergy voted 7-5 in favour of Bishop Richard. To be elected primate, a candidate needs a majority in all three houses.
Dr Aspinall will now chair this year’s General Synod, which is due to be held from 31 May to 5 June in Queensland. The Synod’s Standing Committee is due to meet in Sydney from 17 to 18 April and an announcement is expected about whether plans will have to be changed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.