The Primate is the President of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia. In between Synods, he is also President of the Standing Committee of the General Synod which is elected by the General Synod to take responsibility for the affairs of the General Synod in between General Synod sessions.
The current Primate is the Archbishop of Melbourne, The Most Reverend Dr Philip Freier. The Primate is chosen by a Board of Electors, comprising diocesan bishops and representative clergy and laity.
Responsibility for each of Australia’s 23 dioceses rests with the bishops and archbishops appointed to those roles. The Primate may offer support and guidance to other bishops and dioceses primarily at their invitation. The Primate has no legal power to compel other bishops or dioceses to act.
The Primate also has responsibilities internationally. Since 1978, the Anglican primates have met regularly for an Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is regarded as the leader of the Anglican Primates. While the gathering has no legal jurisdiction, it is one of the instruments of unity among the autonomous provinces of the Communion.
The Anglican Primate, Archbishop Freier, has his own website.
Annual Bishops’ Meeting
Each year the Primate calls together bishops in diocesan leadership to meet together for four days.
This meeting is not a formal instrument of the General Synod. The Primate and Bishops together to determine the agenda and review the Bishops' Protocols.
The Bishops' Protocols express the common mind of the bishops, established by consensus at the annual Bishops’ Meeting.
The Bishops Protocols were last reviewed and amended at the meeting held in Tweed Heads in the Diocese of Grafton from 5-9 March 2017.
Oceania Anglican Fono
In March 2017, the Primate invited the Primates of the Oceania Region to meet to discuss opportunities for support and collaboration.
In attendance were:
Archbishop Philip Freier - Anglican Church of Australia
Archbishop Clyde Igara - Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
Archbishop Winston Halapua - Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia)
Archbishop Philip Richardson - Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia)
Archbishop George Takeli - Anglican Church of Melanesia)
The statement arising from this first meeting commits to the continuation of the Oceania Anglican Fono (a gathering, meeting or council)