SENIOR Liberals are fuming that Matt Kean’s pick for NSW Liberal President, Maria Kovacic, will steer the Party even further Left.
The failed candidate for Parramatta, who was Scott Morrison’s “pick” for May’s federal election, has now been given the nod by NSW’s Left-wing treasurer to fill the Party’s most senior administrative role.
According to The Australian newspaper, the otherwise unknown Ms Kovacic was selected purely because of a close relationship with Mr Kean, who is an advocate of gender quotas.
She will face a vote on August 6 at NSW’s Liberal Party AGM. Non-aligned candidate Philip Argy is her only competition for the role.
One Liberal MP said many in the Party were shocked by Ms Kovacic’s nomination, which is understood to be part of a factional stitch-up.
“Members are bewildered that an unknown factional blow-in will likely fill the most senior position in the division,” the MP said.
“They’re calling her a ‘puppet candidate’,” another Liberal source said, adding: “Rather than yielding control, the people who deliberately cancelled federal pre-selections are consolidating their power.”
According to The Australian, another senior NSW Liberal questioned Ms Kovacic’s fundraising credentials and her dizzying rise from a “relative unknown” among grassroots members to the division’s most prominent role.
Her closeness to Mr Kean was been widely flagged as the best explanation for her swift rise. Ms Kovacic is president of Hornsby’s Federal Electoral Conference, within Mr Kean’s electorate.
Grass root Liberals are mounting a campaign to see off Ms Kovacic and to install the unaligned Mr Argy instead.
In an email circulated to Party members this week, State Council delegates were asked to ignore the factional deal.
“There are two candidates for President, only one has made an outstanding contribution over many years to members’ rights,” the email stated.
“Only one has the background and experience to navigate the Party through these challenging times to a place that will ensure electoral success.
“Only one candidate is endorsed for President by the Democratic Reform Movement – that candidate is Philip Argy.” PC