A prominent local puts her hand up for the Territory Alliance in Braitling held by Labor by the slimmest of margins. And the Chief Minister gets a caning for the keeping the West Macs locked down and his four year long futile campaign for a national Aboriginal gallery. The 2020 election campaign gathers momentum. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Robyn Lambley, Terry Mills and Dale McIver neatly separated during a media event today.
Scott McConnell (pictured), the current Member for Stuart, blames his former Labor colleague Dale Wakefield for "derailing" the National Indigenous Art Gallery and the Chief Minister for selling short the regions and Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
As the two day Labor Party conference turns into three, a detailed decision on fracking remains a work in progress. But Dale Wakefield (pictured), who will be taking on Chief Minister Adam Giles in Braitling, speaks out on a cultural centre, says cops at bottleshops could operate in tandem with a reborn BDR, doesn't rule out a Todd dam in response to increased flood insurance premiums, and says the $75m power station is shaping up as "another shameful legacy of the CLP government". ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Independent candidate Phil Walcott (pictured), who will be standing against Chief Minister Adam Giles in Braitling, says the planned introduction of optional preferential voting is a cynical bid by the government to cling to power. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
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.
Perhaps it's because of his shadow portfolios – Indigenous Policy, Transport and Construction, Regional Development – that the Country Liberals' Adam Giles takes a regional view of issues affecting his electorate. "I'm pro-development, we've got to grow the economy, create jobs for the future," says the sitting Member for Braitling. But he links the old conservative mantra with a certain logic to the specific ills of the region.
He recognises the social issues that are the preoccupation of many – "especially our outrageous law and order issues" – but, beyond what is already being done in a raft of programs and measures, he believes they "won't be fixed until the economy is fixed".
"When we have more people in more jobs then we will see some of our social issues subside. With greater participation in the economy, more kids will go to school, people will be healthier, the imprisonment rates will drop, and social issues will have less relevance and impact," he says.