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The Federal seat of Warringah included the State seats of Manly and Mosman. As Mosman consisted almost entirely of "silvertail" areas, the ALP had little chance of winning Warringah. The Liberal incumbent, Michael MacKellar, had not been active in the electorate, but was well thought of as a hard working sinister. In 1982, Through a minor transgression when filling in a customs form, he was blamed for evading excise on a colour television set; and Fraser sacked him from the ministry.

We decided that it was worthwhile mounting a fullscale campaign in Warringah for the impending Federal election. A strong candidate, who could appeal to the swinging silvertails was required. John Coombs volunteered. His credentials were impeccable -- he was a prominent member of the Bar, a former president of Amnesty International, and the son of a famous Australian -- Dr H.C.("Nugget") Coombs.

John had not yet joined the ALP, so his membership in the Manly Branch had to be quickly arranged. Soon afterwards he won preselection without opposition, and set about campaigning with characteristic enthusiasm.

Progress on my PhD thesis had been slow and the deadline for its submission was looming. I spent long hours over the Christmas holidays working on the final chapters. By the end of January the draft was complete; but it required revision, checking and compiling before

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