Series 02: Alan Gibson Stewart papers, 1987-1989 - Page 83

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Nobody gave any sign of recognising me.


Then there was an important Rugby League match: Randall had arranged for one of his friends to take me. This friend phoned to tell me about the occassion:  

"lots of people will be there. I'll introduce you around. one thing though - you should shave off that beard. It could cost you a thousand votes."


This was too   much. I firmly refused to shave or to attend the match.  


Sir Eric Willis had decided to quit politics. He resigned from Parliment and Peter Coleman took over as Leader of the Opposition. Hence a by-election for the now vacant seat of Earlwood, a typical middle class suburb in the southern "Bible Belt" of Sydney.  

Now there were signs of a swing -- Wran's popularity was continuing to increse, and the population in the area was changing.   The Anglo-Saxon natives were being replaced by migrants from the Mediterran, who tended to vote Labor. Right from the start, Wran had courted the ethnic groups, making himself Minister for Ethnic Affairs on gaining office. The by-election was seen as a test of strength between Wran and Coleman, both of whom were out to show that they had a fresh appeal to win votes. The party

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