NSW Liberals pick Maria Kovacic to fill late Jim Molan’s seat in Senate


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A “formidable woman” and former president of the NSW Liberal Party will fill the senate vacancy left by Jim Molan, who died of prostate cancer in January.

Maria Kovacic, who resigned from her official party position to run for the NSW senate seat, defeated her closest challenger Andrew Constance, a former NSW cabinet minister.

“Maria Kovacic is a formidable woman and a fitting replacement for the late, great Major General Jim Molan,” federal Deputy Liberal Leader Sussan Ley said on Saturday.

Ms Ley said the addition of another woman to the Liberal ranks in federal parliament would help rectify a gender imbalance.

Ms Kovacic’s quest for a job in Canberra wasn’t all smooth sailing. She contested the seat of Parramatta at the 2022 federal election but fell short after an embarrassing interview with a local news reporter.

Quizzed on her local knowledge and favourite eateries, the ‘captain’s pick’ of then prime minister Scott Morrison listed a sound-alike restaurant 50km away on the Northern Beaches.


“One of my key priorities has been to get more women elected into our party room as quickly as possible,” she said.

Ms Kovacic, a businesswoman from Western Sydney, is known in her community and has more than 20 years of experience in the commercial, public and not-for-profit sectors.

She co-founded Western Sydney Women and Western Sydney Executive Women and served on the Parramatta Eels’ NRLW Advisory Committee and steering committee for Women@Eels.

“Maria understands what it is like to start and grow a business in Western Sydney, to take a risk, to employ staff, and to manage the challenges of running your own enterprise,” Ms Ley said.

“By bringing this real-world experience in small business and community service to Canberra, Maria will be a strong addition to our federal Liberal team.”

Liberal Party members voted to preselect Ms Kovacic at a meeting at a hotel in the Sydney CBD on Saturday.

Ms Kovacic ran for the lower house seat of Parramatta in the last federal election but was defeated by Labor’s Andrew Charlton.

Mr Constance also made a failed bid for federal parliament, running for the seat of Gilmore, which was narrowly retained by Labor’s Fiona Phillips.

Ms Kovacic’s preselection will need to be endorsed by the NSW Parliament before she can take her seat in the Senate.


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