The Primate is the titular head of the Anglican Church of Australia, which consists of 23 independent dioceses.
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.
The Primate functions at a national level and is Chair of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia and, between Synods, of the Standing Committee of the General Synod.
The constitutional powers of the Primate relate mainly to summoning and presiding over meetings of national Church bodies, and making appointments to some bodies, in consultation.
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.