Politics with Michelle Grattan

Joel Fitzgibbon on Labor climate policy and leadership

November 11, 2020

Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon this week quit the frontbench, ensuring he'll become even more vocal in his campaign to have Labor's climate policy move to the centre and the party give greater attention to the working class part of its constituency. 

Fitzgibbon – who was shadow minister for resources – and climate spokesman Mark Butler have been at loggerheads, and in this podcast Fitzgibbon makes it clear he believes Butler should be moved when Albanese has an expected pre-Christmas reshuffle.

"I think a refresh in that area would be good ... I think someone without his history, someone who doesn't bring baggage, if you like, to the conversation might be better placed to prosecute Labor's case in the broader electorate."

Fitzgibbon was active in Labor's 2013 leadership change back to Kevin Rudd. 

He says he supports Albanese's leadership. But asked whether, if it became clear next year Labor was heading to a likely really bad defeat, he would be willing to push for a change, he says: "I think senior people in the party have a responsibility to ensure that the party doesn't go over the proverbial cliff.

"And none of us are as big or bigger than the party itself. 

"The party has to be the key interest and its capacity to win government, because millions of people are relying upon us to be a government from time to time. And we  owe it to them to be electable."

Sounds like a warning.

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