The letter was also sent to Liberal Party state director Chris Stone, Liberal Party Senator Marise Payne, federal Liberal Party vice-president Teena McQueen and other senior party figures.
Jarvis, a member of Woollahra Council, said she had written the letter not only out of her desire to serve in the Senate but “out of concern that the Liberal Party will once again be seen by the voting public as being hypocritical – professing its support for more women in Parliament yet denying a senior, qualified woman of the Party a place in Parliament where she has been preselected and endorsed by the Party to represent it in the Senate”.
She noted the Liberal Party’s election post-mortem found its poor standing with women was an “important factor” in its crushing defeat and subtitled a section of her letter ‘a serious women issue’.
Jarvis declined to comment when approached for this story. Kovacic has been approached for comment.
The NSW Liberal Party is not expected to fill Molan’s seat until after the March 25 state election to avoid a damaging internal row as Premier Dominic Perrottet seeks re-election.
Jarvis said it was inappropriate that NSW voters should be left short of Senate representation for months when the constitution, electoral laws and various Senate resolutions make clear that Senate vacancies should be filled promptly.
She said it was “politically risky” for the party to wait until after the state election to fill the seat given a new Labor government in NSW could technically deny the Liberal Party from taking up the position.
Jarvis said this was not a “far-fetched scenario” given the finely balanced composition of the Senate.
She attached a letter John Tierney, who served as a Liberal senator for NSW from 1991 to 2005, to sent to Kovacic last month warning about this possibility and urging the party to appoint Jarvis to Molan’s vacant position as the next person in line on the party’s most recent Senate ticket.
Liberal sources privately dismissed Jarvis’s efforts as a desperate move given she had unsuccessfully sought preselection several times and was unlikely to win a party ballot to fill Molan’s spot.
Party sources said there is no automatic assumption, let alone a requirement, that a casual Senate vacancy should be filled by the next person on the ticket in the most recent election.
One source added the party’s biggest problem with female representation was in the House of Representatives not the Senate given 10 of the party’s 23 senators are women.
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