All members participate in ministry within the Anglican Church of Australia. However, some people are called to special ministries or employment within the Anglican Church and are ordained to a particular role. The actual work ordained clergy do is fixed by a licence from the diocesan bishop.
Once a person is ordained to a particular order (bishops, priests and deacons) they remain a bishop, priest or deacon even if they retire from employment or work in a different role or move to a different diocese.
The deacon is ordained to a ministry of service to others. Some deacons remain as permanent deacons, while others remain deacons for a period of time (usually a year) and are then ordained as priests. They are not permitted to be solely responsible for the service of Holy Communion but take other parts of worship. Women can be ordained as deacons in most dioceses within Australia.
The priest is ordained following a period as a deacon and is authorised to baptise, be solely responsible for Holy Communion, to pronounce the Absolution (statement of God’s forgiveness after confession), and give the blessing. Priests may be placed in charge of parishes or undertake other forms of ministry such as chaplaincy. Women can be ordained as priests in most dioceses within Australia - with the exception of North West Australia, Sydney and The Murray.
The diocesan Bishop has oversight over all the Anglican Churches in a particular diocese. In the large metropolitan dioceses of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney they are called the Archbishop. Dioceses and may also have assistant Bishops.
Bishops care for the clergy and the lay people within their diocese. They ordain priests and deacons, assist in the ordination of other bishops and perform confirmations. Bishops represent the linking of the local church both with the early church and the apostles appointed by Jesus, and with all other Anglican bishops around the world.
As well as those who are ordained as Bishop, Priest or Deacon there are a growing number of "local clergy". These are appointed by the Diocesan Bishop to minister in parishes on a limited basis. Unlike priests and deacons, their title is not usually transferable from diocese to diocese. Such clergy are usually found in regional Australia where local communities are unable to support an ordained minister.