Roger Herft

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The Most Reverend
Roger Herft
Anglican Archbishop of Perth
Church Anglican Church of Australia
See Anglican Diocese of Perth
In office 2005 — present
Predecessor Peter Carnley
Successor incumbent
Consecration 11 June 2005
Personal details
Born (1948-07-11) 11 July 1948 (age 68)
Wattegama, Sri Lanka
Previous post Bishop of Waikato
Bishop of Newcastle

Roger Adrian Herft AM (born 11 July 1948) is a bishop in the Anglican Church of Australia. He has been the Archbishop of Perth since 2005.[1] He was previously the Bishop of Newcastle from 1993 to 2005 and Bishop of Waikato from 1986.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Wattegama, Sri Lanka, Herft studied at the Royal College in Colombo, later training for the ministry at the Theological College of Lanka in Pilimatalawa, receiving a B.Th. and B.D. degree from the University of Serampore.[1][2]

Clerical career[edit]

After working in parish ministry and prison chaplaincy, he was invited by the Diocese of Waikato in New Zealand to become a Parish Consultant in 1983. In 1986, Herft was elected Bishop of Waikato, becoming one of the youngest bishops in the Anglican Communion.[1][2][3]

Herft was elected Bishop of Newcastle, New South Wales, in 1992 and enthroned at Christ Church Cathedral in May 1993.[1][4] He was chaplain of the 13th Lambeth Conference in 1998.[1][5][6]

In 2004, Herft was elected as the seventh Archbishop of Perth and Metropolitan of the Province of Western Australia and was installed on 11 June 2005, succeeding Peter Carnley.[1][7]

Herft nominated Kay Goldsworthy as Australia's first female Anglican bishop and consecrated her at St George's Cathedral in Perth on 22 May 2008.[8]

On 11 May 2016, it was announced that he would succeed Jack Nicholls as the next prelate of the Venerable Order of St John.[9] Prior to this he was sub prelate of the order in Western Australia.[10] On 1 September 2016, however, it was announced that Tim Stevens, formerly the Anglican Bishop of Leicester, had been appointed as the prelate.[11]

On 10 October 2016 Herft wrote a Pastoral letter stating that he was standing down as Archbishop. In the ABC report covering the announcement a spokeswoman stated that "Archbishop Herft's decision to stand aside from all duties was a temporary move." A leader of Care Leavers Australia, an advocacy group for adopted children and those children in Care Homes, said she thought the Archbishop should have resigned, and that she was "disappointed that he hasn't had the moral courage to resign." She also stated the following "I think his integrity is in pieces, he needs to do the honourable thing and resign now -- not in six months' time, not when the royal commission has completed its work."[12]

On 23 October 2016 The Sunday Times Perth stated that former Premier Richard Court had come to the defence of the "beleagured" Archbishop Herft. It linked AB Herfts standing aside again with the Royal Commission and that his standing aside from duty was "to focus attention on the Royal Commission." It also stated that "members of the Diocese confided there was a belief amongst some of the laity and clergy that Rev Herft should have resigned."[13]

On 15 December 2016, the Diocese of Perth announced that Bishop Herft would retire on 7 July 2017, and remain on accrued leave until that date. This is a year earlier than previously anticipated.[14]

On 16 December 2016 the ABC covered this announcement linking his resignation to the Royal Commission and the fact that in his statement to the Royal Commission he had stated that he had let down the people of Newcastes "sacred trust". "I have let them down badly." "I have let down the survivors in a way that remorse itself is a very poor emotion to express."[15]

On 6 January 2017 the ABC reported that prominent Lawyer Peter Kelso had written an open Letter to Rev Herft asking him to give up his rights to a Church pension and donate the money to victims if he was truly remorseful.[16]

On 10 January 2017 an article in the Australian was published that stated that in 1996 the Bp of Ballarat David Silk employed a unidentified Priest who had transferred from Newcastle where Rev Herft was serving at the time as Bishop.Some months after he arrived in Ballarat in 1996 allegations were made and again in 1999. " Certainly" Rev Silk stated " if allegations had been made then (Archbishop Herft) should have told me something of the facts of it."[17]

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse[edit]

On 21 July 2016, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), published an article which stated that "One of the nation's most senior Anglicans, the Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, received complaints about a priest involved in a paedophile ring but allegedly failed to formally report him to police." The article also says that "Archbishop Herft wrote that the complaint "left me in an unenviable position" because "Father Peter had my licence [to be a priest] and if he reoffended I would be held liable as I now had prior knowledge of his alleged behaviour". There is no record of Herft reporting the priest to police.[18]

On 12 August 2016, Herft appeared before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and was questioned about his policy in regard to the reporting and responses to allegations of abuse during his time as Bishop of Newcastle. Herft admitted that there had been no framework for dealing with accusations of child sexual assault during the first half of his tenure in Newcastle. He had written a policy called "Principles and Procedures for Dealing with Accusations of Sexual Harassment" in 1993, but this had not been prepared with child sexual abuse allegations in mind.[19]

A record of a 1998 meeting between Herft and other church officials showed there had been concern about following up abuse allegations. Herft said that allegations would not have been followed up unless there was a formal written complaint. He agreed with the commission that this was "Totally unacceptable" as it left children at risk.[19]

The commission heard evidence that Herft had been informed of allegations against Father Graeme Lawrence who had been Dean of Newcastle Cathedral. Herft reported that he had no recollection of specific allegations against Lawrence, who was later defrocked after having group sex with a teenage boy.[20]


Herft is married to Cheryl and they have two adult sons, Romesh and Jason.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Archbishops Biography". Website of the Diocese of Perth. Diocese of Perth. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  2. ^ a b "Archbishop Roger Herft's migration odyssey". The University of Western Australia. Archived from the original on 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  3. ^ "History of the Diocese". Website of the Diocese of Waikato. The Diocese of Waikato. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  4. ^ "A Brief History of Christ Church Cathedral". Website of Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle. The Diocese of Newcastle, Australia. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  5. ^ "Chaplains at the ready in Eliot" (pdf). The Lambeth Daily. The 1998 Lambeth Conference. 2008-07-18. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  6. ^ Cynthia McFarland; Brian Reid & Simon Sarmiento (1998). "The Lambeth Conference". Society of Archbishop Justus. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  7. ^ "Previous Bishops and Archbishop". Website of the Diocese of Perth. Diocese of Perth. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  8. ^ Morris, Linda (23 May 2008). "Blessing of History, as first woman bishop consecrated". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 2008-05-23. 
  9. ^ Archbishop of Perth website.
  10. ^ Government House, Western Australia
  11. ^ "Appointment of Great Officers". n.d. Retrieved 2016-09-02. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Susan Harvey (15 December 2016). Anglican Diocese of Perth Retrieved 14 January 2017.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Connolly, Anne (21 July 2016). "Archbishop allegedly failed to report paedophile ring 'kingpin'". ABC News. Retrieved 2016-08-26. 
  19. ^ a b Cox, Dan (12 August 2016). "Archbishop would not report abuse claims if victim's name not known, inquiry hears". ABC News. Retrieved 2016-08-26. 
  20. ^ "Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft 'told of abuse priest'". The Australian. 24 August 2016. (subscription required (help)). 
Anglican Communion titles
Preceded by
Peter Carnley
Archbishop of Perth