Yesterday in the Anglican Synod I moved an amendment attempting to have the synod approve a fixed ten year term for the next Archbishop of Sydney.
It was an attempt to remove a built in bias in the system against any candidate aged under 57.
While my amendment was unsuccessful it provoked a lot of discussion in the synod about the possibility of appointing someone not aged 57-58-59-60.
Here are my speaking notes:
As I have heard people talk about who might be a possible next Archbishop I have noted that an assumption seems to be that the person elected would be 57-58-59-60.
As I queried that assumption the reason given has been that no matter how good the candidate we aren’t prepared to give them a 20 year run.
SInce WW2 we have elected men for terms of 7, 15, 10, 8 and 12 years.
Since WW2 the age at appointment of our Archbishops has been 54, 59, 62, 57
And since WW2 we have truncated our vision to look for men only within the older age bracket.
In the last 100 years we have had an Archbishop aged younger than sixty for just 21 years.
IF This amendment was passed it would not compel us to choose a younger person.
IF This amendment was passed it would allow us to expand the field downward so that we could consider someone aged as young as:
* 44 year old Howard Mowell
* or 54 year old Marcus Loan.
I am not suggesting the next Archbishop be 30 years old.
I am not speaking against future Archbishops being aged 57 to 70.
It would be good if a gifted godly leader who was fifty – was able to be in our field of vision.
And I don’t think that he will even come into consideration – while we have a term that runs to retirement at 70.
Is the responsibility too great for a man in their late fourties or early fifties?
The average age of the US president on appointment is 54. Barack Obama was 47 when he was elected.
Julia Gillard is 49.
A term length is a wise idea –
In national leadership – It has served the American Presidency well to have an eight year term length.
And I think most would agree that the worst years of Prime Minister Hawke and Howard – were the last two.
Some have said we don’t limit appointment terms to other positions.
A number of our bodies have CEO’s with fixed terms.
But even if we don’t limit the appointment term of other positions, this appointment is so important that it would be I think wise to limit the length of term.
I hope you will vote for this amendment…. because we are all afraid of giving someone a long term – here is a way of allowing us to have that fear – but still giving us more possibilities.