The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Most Rev. Phillip Aspinall, has announced that it is his intention to step down from his post this month after nine years of service. Dr. Aspinall (54) will relinquish his office before the 16th General Synod of the ACA, set for 29 June to 4 July 2014 at St Peter’s College in Adelaide, but will remain Archbishop of Brisbane and Metropolitan of the Province of Queensland.
Under Section 9 of the Primate Canon 1985, Archbishop Aspinall is required to relinquish his post as primate upon retirement as a diocesan bishop, reaching the age of 70, or if the General Synod declares the post vacant. He may also resign the post by giving notice to the senior metropolitan archbishop (other than himself).
Within 14 days of his resignation, a notice of a meeting of the Panel of Electors of the Primate must be called and a date for an election set. On 2 July the members of General Synod will elect 12 clergy and 12 lay members to the Panel of Electors of the Primate, who with all of the members of the House of Bishops are charged with electing a new primate.
Section 14(e) of the Canon states that only diocesan bishops may be considered as candidates for the office, and a simple majority by orders is necessary to elect the new primate. Traditionally, the office has fallen to one of the five metropolitan archbishops in Australia. In an interview with The Australian, Dr. Aspinall said he was stepping down so as to allow for the election of a new primate prior to the August visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Australia.