Alan Jones fails twice in bid to win state seat of Earlwood

Voters did Alan Jones a huge favour when he stood for parliament in the state seat of Earlwood.

They rejected the Liberal Party candidate in a by-election in 1978 and again at the general election the following year.

Jones went on to become a top rating radio broadcaster, starting at 2UE in 1985, and he also coached the Wallabies.

Earlwood was a blue ribbon Liberal seat, held by former Premier Sir Eric Willis for 28 years.

He resigned mid-term and Jones, 35, was preselected in his place, defeating 11 other candidates in a series of three ballots.

Jones was a company director, Arts graduate from the University of Queensland, State tennis player and former teacher.

He had completed a post-graduate degree in politics at Oxford University 18 months earlier.

"Although he lives outside the electorate, in Warrawee [on the upper north shore] he intends moving to Earlwood soon," a media report said.

Jones was expected to easily retain the seat for the Liberals, but faced some big obstacles.

Premier Neville Wran's personal popularity soared after he led the Labor Party to victory in the 1976 "cliff-hanger" general election, which was decided by former rugby league star Kevin Ryan narrowly winning Hurstville.

Voters had also become disillusioned with Malcolm Fraser's federal Coalition government.

There was a huge swing away from the Liberals in the Earlwood by-election, which was a portent of the "Wranslide" that would occur in the 1979 general election.

Jones gained only 42 per cent of the primary vote in the by-election and 37 per cent at the general election.

The seat was won for Labor by Ken Gabb, 28, a solicitor in the Crown Solicitor's Office.

Mr Gabb, who had lived in Earlwood all his life, became the youngest member in the Legislative Assembly.

It was not the first time Jones tried to enter parliament.

In 1974, when he was the senior English master at the King's School at Parramatta, he moved to Canberra to work in the Country Party secretariat and unsuccessfully stood for preselection for the marginal seat of Eden-Monaro.