Former President of the NSW Liberal party, Maria Kovacic has been selected to replace the late Jim Molan in the NSW Senate seat.
Kovacic was preselected on Saturday by Liberal party members at a meeting in Sydney, beating former NSW cabinet minister and Bega MP, Andrew Constance — in a 266-243 vote.
Last October, she was elected as Division President of the NSW Liberal Party Members — a role she resigned from this April to run for the NSW Senate seat.
“I want to make it very clear that I’m here to fight for our community,” Kovacic said on Saturday. “I’m here to fight for Australians that are suffering in term of the cost-of-living pressures and inflation. I look forward to holding Labor to account on their broken promises and the bad decisions.”
“I’m really grateful to our membership for putting their trust in me and for selecting me to represent them in Canberra.”
In a statement released over the weekend, Kovacic, a businesswoman from Western Sydney, noted the “spiralling cost of living crisis is having a huge impact on families right across the city and the state.”
“Labor promised cheaper mortgages, but instead Australia’s core inflation is now higher than every major advanced economy and there have been 10 interest rate rises in Labor’s first 12 months,” she expressed.
Federal deputy Liberal leader, Sussan Ley, described Kovacic as “a formidable woman” and “a fitting replacement for the late, great Major General Jim Molan,” adding that the inclusion of another woman to the party’s leadership in federal parliament would help correct the gender imbalance.
“One of my key priorities has been to get more women elected into our party room as quickly as possible,” she said, noting that Kovacic’s expertise as a businesswoman means she will understand what it means to “take a risk, to employ staff, and to manage the challenges of running your own enterprise”.
“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,” Ley said.
In a statement, Kovacic also paid tribute to Molan, describing the “important legacy he has left” and the “incredibly big shoes to fill.”
“I will do my best to do that,” she added.
For more than two decades, Kovacic has worked with organisations in commercial, public and not-for-profit, as well as running her own mortgage and finance business.
In 2015, she co-founded Western Sydney Women, a professional advocacy group for women across the Western Sydney region. Since 2018, she has served on the Parramatta Eels’ NRLW advisory committee and steering committee for [email protected]
In the last federal election, Kovacic lost her bid for the lower house seat of Parramatta to Labor’s Andrew Charlton.
In a recent Linkedin Post, Kovacic described herself as a first generation Australian with migrant parents who “couldn’t speak English before I started school.”
“My parents instilled in me a strong work ethic, a definitive moral compass and a deep sense of personal accountability,” she wrote.
“Throughout my professional career, I have worked hard to foster collaboration, drive positive change, and champion opportunities for women, small business and migrant communities.”
Kovacic’s preselection now awaits the endorsement by the NSW parliament before she officially takes her seat in the Senate.