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Anglican Synods’ Electoral Systems


Click on a blue hyperlink of interest.


The Synod of the Diocese of Melbourne is the only Australian Synod that elects its Committees – including its Diocesan Council – using proportional representation with the single transferable vote (PR-STV) to count the votes, similar to Tasmania’s Hare-Clark system.


The General Synod of the Church of England in Britain has counted its elections by the single transferable vote form of proportional representation (PR-STV) - which is specified in Clause 133(3) of its Standing Orders - since 1920. In stark contrast, the Constitution of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia still uses - in Clause 10 of its Rule III in Part 3 - the crude and unsound first-past-the-post system, for its elections, and uses it in its multiple form, for filling a group of positions. Quite undemocratically, that system ensures that the largest single minority bloc of voters can succeed in having all positions filled by the candidates it supports, even if an absolute majority of voters oppose them.


The synods of the 22 other dioceses of the Anglican Church of Australia also still use, although plumping is allowed, that crude and unsound multiple first-past-the-post electoral system, which was abandoned for Senate elections in 1917, because of the defects described at that hyperlink.


The Proportional Representation Society of Australia assisted the Melbourne Synod deliberations on adopting proportional representation, as is stated in the articles below in the PRSA newsletter, Quota Notes.


December 1989


Melbourne Synod Reviews its “Points System” in response to concerns over its fairness

December 1989


Diocese of Melbourne’s Regulation of Elections Act 1980, including its old “Points” electoral system, as at 1989

June 1991


Melbourne Synod Initiates PR Bill to replace its “Points System”

September 1991


Assistance of Mr Colin Ball, former Chief Electoral Officer for Tasmania, re method of filling casual vacancies

December 1991


Melbourne Synod Adopts a PR Electoral System to replace its “Points System”

October 1992


Diocese of Melbourne’s Regulation of Elections Act 1980, including its new PR electoral system, as at 1992


December 2003

Synod’s Annual Review Led to Review of PR Law:  The Annual Review required by Section 33 of the Regulation of Elections Act 1980 found PR should continue, as a 2010 ballot-paper shows. See Act on diocesan website.



See other past assistance that the PRSA has given the Melbourne Synod with its elections.


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