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This book is an account of my involvement in politics as a member of State Parliament in New South Wales. It is not intended to be a treatise on political science nor a complete autobiography.   Rather, it is an attempt to describe some of the people and events which I encountered in public life during the late 1970's and early 1980's. I have been deliberately subjective and selective.   The aim was to convey an impression:   how it felt to be the Labor Member for Manly.

         From the beginning, I regarded my position in Parliament as a privileged vantage point; from which the course of human events could be observed over a wide range.   I met many people: rich and poor, famous and obscure, humble and arrogant.   Some espoused great principles, many were enmeshed in trivia.   An MP must try to cope with them all -- in a democracy everyone should be able to make his or her opinion known to the elected representatives.

        How well democracy works is, of course, a question which will continue to be debated.   I do not propose any definitve answer, even on the relatively small scale of New South Wales.   I have tried to portray a political mechanism of which I was a part.   Perhaps some insights on the general process may be drawn from my experiences as an "accidental" member for a unique marginal seat.

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