Permanent Committee

The bishops usually meet twice a year, however in between plenary meetings, the work of the Conference goes on. There are eight bishops commissions and two episcopal panels that undertake the work of the Conference. In addition, the Conference has a Permanent Committee, which is the Executive and Standing Committee of the Conference and deals with matters specifically delegated to it by the plenary meeting, as well as with matters that need to be dealt with before Conference can meet again.

The President and Vice President are ex officio members of the Permanent Committee. The Conference elects the other members for terms of two years.

President: Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB
Vice President: Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP

Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
Bishop Timothy Harris
Bishop Shane Mackinlay
Archbishop Patrick O'Regan
Bishop Anthony Randazzo
Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay OLM

Rev Dr Stephen P. Hackett MSC: General Secretary

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Bishop Patrick O'Regan (Media)
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Extract from Statutes N4 Art 23 - 34
Art. 23 The Permanent Committee comprises the president, the vice-president and six other bishops. Among these eight bishops there shall be at least one from each of the five ecclesiastical provinces of Australia.1

1 For the purposes of these elections, the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, the Maronite diocese, the Melkite eparchy and the Military Ordinariate shall be considered together with the other dioceses in the Province of Sydney, and the Archdiocese of Hobart and the Ukrainian eparchy shall be considered together with the other dioceses in the Province of Melbourne.

Art. 24 The six members other than the president and vice-president shall be elected at a plenary meeting for a period of two years, in such manner that each year half of them retire. Retiring members shall be eligible for re-election.

Art. 25 The elections shall be conducted according to the prescriptions of cann.119 and 164ff., with the following provisions:
1. Elections cannot be made by compromise as set out in can.174;
2. Elections shall be by secret ballot without previous nomination;
3. In the later ballots, should no one from a particular province or provinces have obtained membership of the Committee, only members from that province or those provinces shall be eligible to receive votes.
Art.26 If for any reason an elected member of the Permanent Committee ceases to be a member of the Bishops' Conference, the next plenary meeting shall elect another member to complete the remainder of his term.

Art.27 The Permanent Committee is presided over by the president or, in his absence, the vice-president

Art.28 The Permanent Committee approves the agenda for the plenary meetings of the Conference and ensures that the decisions taken at those meetings are duly executed.

Art.29 The Permanent Committee shall decide only matters that cannot be deferred to the next plenary meeting. It shall seek to ensure that its decisions conform to Conference policy.

Art.30 All members of Conference shall be informed immediately of any urgent and major decision that the Permanent Committee has felt obliged to make.

Art.31 #1 The Permanent Committee encourages and coordinates cooperation between the various bishops' committees.

#2 When a matter arises which involves the competence of more than one bishops' committee, the Permanent Committee may, after consultation with the relevant committees, decide which committee or committees shall deal with the matter, or even reserve the matter to itself.

Art.32 Meetings of the Permanent Committee shall take place at regular intervals throughout the year. When circumstances dictate, available communications technology may be used. The president, after consultation with the vice-president, may convene a special meeting at any time.

Art.33 The secretary of the Conference is ipso facto secretary to the Permanent Committee.

Art.34 The General Secretariat of the Conference is accountable to the Permanent Committee.

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