The SOUTH Australian Senator Jeannie Ferris, 65, has died after a battle with ovarian cancer. She was a passionate advocate for women's health, Shared parenting and lead sweeping reforms alongside Ken Ticehurst in 2001 and 2002.
She passed away overnight at a Canberra hospital.
Senator Ferris had recently sought leave from Parliament and her position as Senate whip sparking renewed concern over her health.
Senate leader Nick Minchin confirmed this morning that Senator Ferris had died overnight.
She had previously announced she would not contest the election. Winemakers' Federation director Simon Birmingham had been preselected to run in her spot at the next election. Her Senate term expired in July, 2008.
Senator Minchin saidJeannie died peacefully in hospital where she had been for several weeks, supported by her family and close friends. Jeannie was an extraordinary human being who served her nation, her State and her Party with great distinction. Jeannie endured with typical fortitude her treatment for cancer in 2006, and her return to the Senate last ear was courageously and warmly welcomed by all her Parliamentary colleagues. Arrangements for Jeannie's funeral will be advised as soon as possible.
But her death creates a casual vacancy that must be filled immediately. The SA Liberal Party is likely to open preselection for the spot which could be filled by Mr Birmingham or others. Senator Ferris had criticised the failure to preselect a woman to fill her spot when she announced her retirement.
Jeannie will be sadly missed by all who have been involved in the Family Law Reform agenda.