safeguarding background 2

Organisation of the Council

The Facilitation Team

The Plenary Council Facilitation team is responsible for helping the Church in Australia to prepare for the Plenary Council. This includes enabling a dialogue and listening process that all people can engage in about the future of the Church in Australia; providing and facilitating education and formation about topics related to the Plenary Council and the mission of the Church; and also organising the events of the Plenary Council sessions in 2020 and 2021.

The team welcome feedback, input and ideas and can be contacted via the Plenary Council Website:
Postal address: PO Box 747, North Sydney, NSW 2059


Lana Turvey Collins
Plenary Council Facilitator, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Peter Gates
Deputy National Director, Catholic Mission

Fr Noel Conolly
Columban Missionary Priest, Senior Lecturer and Head of Mission and Culture, BBI-TAITE

The Bishop’s Commission for the Plenary Council

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has established a Bishops Commission to oversee, plan and prepare for the Plenary Council. This Commission meets prior to the biannual plenary meetings of the Conference, providing advice to the members of the Conference in the areas of its responsibility and, where appropriate, makes recommendations for action.

Chair of the Commission & President of the Plenary Council:

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB
GPO Box M962 
Perth WA 6843


Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli Bishop
Michael R Kennedy
Bishop Anthony Randazzo
Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay OLM

The Plenary Council Executive Committee

In June 2017, the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council announced the members of the Plenary Council Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is an advisory body to the Bishops Commission and the Facilitation Team. The people on the Executive Committee have a diversity of skills and experience particularly relevant to a Plenary Council and offer this expertise to the Bishops and the Facilitators to help to guide the process of dialogue, listening and discernment.


Mr Daniel Ang – Broken Bay
Mr Shayne Bennett – Brisbane
Br Ian Cribb SJ – Broken Bay
Dr Gemma Cruz – Melbourne
Sr Moya Hanlen FDNSC – Sydney
Ms Sally Hood – Brisbane
Mr John Lochowiak – Adelaide
Dr Brigid McKenna – Hobart
Ms Sarah Moffatt – Adelaide
Sr Grace Roclawska CSFN – Parramatta
Rev Dr Ormond Rush – Townsville
Dr Debra Sayce – Perth
Mrs Theresa Simon – Sydney (Maronite Church)
Dr Nigel Zimmerman – Parramatta

Mr Shane Dwyer and Fr Ian Waters are additional consultants to the Executive Committee

The National Centre for Pastoral Research (NCPR)

The National Centre for Pastoral Research (formerly Pastoral Research Office) is an agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. It has ongoing responsibility for various research projects as well as undertaking additional projects from time to time. The Centre’s website is accessible at

In preparation for the 2020 Plenary Council, the NCPR has been invited by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to assist the Plenary Council Executive Committee with the collection and analysis of data.

Phase 1 of Journey to Plenary Council 2018-2020 titled, “Open Dialogue & Listening” has been completed. During this phase, the NCPR assisted to collect and collate the submissions from individuals and groups engaged in the discussion and dialogue processes. A research task group has been formed to guide the process of the research over three years. The members of the task group include two members of the Plenary Council Executive Committee, two members of the Australian Catholic Council for Pastoral Research and two experienced researchers, renowned for their expertise in this field.

The NCPR will begin analysing the data from the submissions in March 2019. The process of analysis is a complex one. The first step will include a rigorous de-identification of all the data. All key identifiers in the form of names, contact details and other information will be removed prior to the analysis. This will be followed by entering the data into a qualitative analysis program called NVivo. NVivo allows the researchers to read through all the responses and code them into different themes. This a slow process as every submission must be read thoroughly. Once the qualitative analysis is complete, it will highlight the emerging themes and shape the next stage of the Plenary Council preparations – working groups, deeper discernment, theological reflection, re-listening, face-to-face encounters and topical dialogue.

Along with the qualitative analysis, the Plenary Council data will also undergo a range of quantitative analysis using SPSS statistical software. This analysis will include a detailed demographic examination of participants’ age, religious affiliations, cultural back-ground and location. The NCPR will use this to prepare tables and graphs for use in reports and publications. Over many years the NCPR has built a reputation for presentation of statistical data in graphically appealing ways that are easily understood by a non-technical audience.

The NCPR has been granted ethics approval for the data analysis of the Plenary Council project by the Christian Research Association Human Research Ethics Committee. The findings will be reported to the Plenary Council Executive Committee and to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. They will also be available from the Plenary Council website: