In her first foray into politics, tourism operator Deborah Rock is standing for Labor in Braitling. Not previously a member of the party, she first came to Labor's attention as a result of penning letters to the editor. Their theme was to reject the idea of widespread fear and insecurity in Alice, asserting that the town was a beautiful and mostly safe place to live. That remains a key message. The magnificent landscape drew her to Alice in 1998 but what has kept her here – and she thinks this is true for many people – is the sense of personal freedom and community.
"You can be yourself and still be successful," she says, "and you can get to know a wide range of people. I love that small town thing of going to the shops and running into lots of people I know."
Not surprisingly then, community harmony is at the top of her agenda: "We need to address our problems without creating division, without talking the town down." KIERAN FINNANE reports.
CLP incumbent Robyn Lambley says it's a non-issue: she also opposes a u-mine 'on top of the water table'
The Labor Government might have a credibility problem with its stance on a possible future uranium mine at Angela Pamela, but the local branch of the Labor Party does not: "We were always at odds with the government over their support for the exploration process on that site so close to town," says Labor's candidate for Araluen, Adam Findlay (left).
But the Country Liberals' incumbent Robyn Lambley (right) says Mr Findlay will struggle to make this an issue in the campaign as there is "no point of difference" between them: "There's no way in the world that I could ever support a uranium mine on top of the water table in Alice Springs unless its safety could be demonstrated beyond a shred of a doubt." KIERAN FINNANE speaks to the two contenders for the seat of Araluen in August's Legislative Assembly election.
Rowan Foley and wife Michelle with supporters – from left, Andre Burgess, Sandra Ball, Andrew Ferguson, Barbara Ferguson (obscured), and Paul Acfield – at a community barbecue where he wanted to hear from Greatorex residents about their concerns.
Labor candidate for Greatorex Rowan Foley has chosen a possible future uranium mine at Angela Pamela, 23 kms south of Alice Springs, as the point of difference between him and Country Liberals incumbent Matt Conlan. Apart from the "I love Alice" tag, opposition to the mine is the dominant message of Mr Foley's initial campaign flyer.
As a core campaign message it seems to turn back the clock to the 2010 Araluen by-election campaign when the Labor Government, a little more than a week out from polling day, announced it would not allow a uranium mine to proceed so close to Alice Springs. Labor candidate Adam Findlay claimed that the government had listened to the views of the electorate but any bounce for him was nullified by the Country Liberals following suit, and their Robyn Lambley going on to win the by-election.
How much currency does the issue have now? With the Territory Labor Government on a knife edge, relying on the vote of independent MLA Gerry Wood, every seat counts. Labor has obviously judged this as an issue where the Country Liberals (CLP) are exposed in Alice Springs and especially in the seat of Greatorex. KIERAN FINNANE talks to Mr Foley and to independent candidate Phil Walcott, who is also opposed to a uranium mine so close to town. CLP incumbent Matt Conlan did not respond to the invitation to answer questions.