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Wednesday, 16 March 2005
Page: 147

Mr SECKER (7:54 PM) —As the member for Barker, which is an electorate largely included within the Anglican Diocese of the Murray, I rise in the House tonight to express my concern at the somewhat bizarre public comments made by the outgoing Anglican Primate of Australia, Peter Carnley. Honourable members may be aware that the Bishop of the Murray, the Rt Reverend Ross Davies, participated in the consecration on 16 February 2005 at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, Philadelphia, USA, of Bishops David Chislett of Australia and David Moyer of the United States.

Given the departure from Catholic order by Australian Anglican bishops through the purported ordination of women priests, orthodox Anglicans in Australia needed a bishop who had not departed from the Catholic faith to minister to them. Forward in Faith Australia, representing orthodox Anglicans, elected Father David Chislett, Rector of All Saints Church, Wickham Terrace in Brisbane, to be consecrated to the episcopate as a ‘flying bishop’ for Australia. He would also assist the Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, Archbishop John Hepworth of Adelaide.

Mr Pyne —Good man!

Mr SECKER —He is a good man. Bishop Davies, a man of great integrity and high principle, advocates that the Church of England and her daughter churches in the Anglican Communion are a valid and true expression of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. He points out that the great historical claim of the Anglican Church of being both Catholic and reformed was rooted in a truly sacramental ministry carried on as part of the apostolic succession. In a statement to the clergy and laity of the Murray on 2 March 2005, Bishop Davies emphasised that the Church of England in 1992, and the Anglican Church here in the same year, when legislating for the ordination of women, seriously breached the Catholic tradition without having a universal Anglican consensus on the issue.

The bishop goes on to tell us that in England, the act of synod catered for conscientiously Catholic and traditionally-minded Anglicans with legislation providing for ‘flying bishops’. These are orthodox bishops who have not purported to ordain women. Sadly, a similar provision for the maintenance of the Catholic faith was not made in Australia. While I am not an expert on the theological arguments concerning the ordination of priestesses, I greatly respect the courage of Bishop Davies in taking action to guarantee the maintenance of the Catholic faith in its Anglican expression. As a bishop in the Church of God, Bishop Davies is a bishop for the whole church and not just for his own diocese. As Ross Davies has stated, he is free to exercise his episcopate for the good of the holy church.

This brings me to express concern that religious persecution appears to be alive and well in the Anglican Church of Australia in 2005. In a remarkable demonstration of primatial thuggery, Peter Carnley raised the prospect of suspending Bishop Davies for his actions in ensuring the continuity of Catholic order in Australian Anglicanism through his participation in the consecration of Bishop Chislett. Not to be outdone in the thuggery stakes, Brisbane Archbishop Phillip Aspinall has sought to suspend Bishop Chislett as Rector of All Saints because he submitted himself to consecration.

Bishop David Chislett remains a member of the Anglican Church of Australia and has been licensed as a bishop in the Anglican Diocese of the Murray. While neither Ross Davies nor David Chislett has breached the canons of the church or done anything illegal, we should remember that Peter Carnley first purported to ordain women, contrary to the canons of the Anglican Church of Australia. Talk about breathtaking hypocrisy on Archbishop Carnley’s part! I find his statement against Ross Davies both disgusting and unacceptable. As the member for Barker, I know all about the wonderful work being carried out by Bishop Ross as Bishop of the Murray. For example, the Cathedral Parish of the Murraylands is beginning a new Anglican primary school in Murray Bridge in 2006. It is to be a low-fee independent Christian school. In the national parliament I salute Bishop Ross Davies for his leadership, courage and values. Peter Carnley would do well to emulate his example.