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How do people become actively involved in politics?   What are the rewards and costs of seeking public office?   Does our system of government allow ordinary individuals to make worthwhile contributions?

         This is a personal account of how a marginal seat was won, held and lost--during the turbulent years of the Wran Government in NSW.   It deals with the joys and sorrows of the political life, from the point of view of an "accidental" MP who had not intended to make politics a career.

         The beach-side electorate of Manly had always been firmly held by conservatives.   However, in the "Wranslide" of 1978, Alan Stewart was unexpectedly elected as the first ALP Member for Manly.   The high-profile Nelson Meers tried to win back the seat for the Liberals, in the most expensive campaign ever conducted in NSW.   And then the popularity of the Wran government began to wane ...

        Alan Stewart was born and brought up in Manly.   He left school at the age of fifteen to become a jackeroo and later to manage his own grazing property in inland NSW.   He studied agriculture and biology, worked as a field officer with the Agriculture Department, and was conducting research on the ecology of kangaroos when elected to parliament.   He is currently writing an account of the adventures of three Australian officers on a secret mission to Persia in 1918.



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