Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon is set to quit the opposition shadow cabinet amid a growing fight over its future climate change and energy policies.
Mr Fitzgibbon is expected to call a press conference later this morning after telling caucus he will sit on the backbench because he believes the party has alienated its blue-collar base by pushing for deeper cuts to carbon emissions without an appropriate transition.
The Guardian has more:
Labor left MPs have lined up to blast outspoken frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon in a fiery meeting of the left caucus over the shadow resources minister constantly freelancing on policy.
Guardian Australia understands that about 15 MPs spoke during the discussion, which was triggered by a briefing from the shadow climate change minister, Mark Butler, about the party’s position on gas.
Butler on Monday night briefed MPs about an internal deliberation convened to try to settle an ongoing public battle between the leader, Anthony Albanese, Butler and Fitzgibbon over Labor’s language regarding gas – a process that ultimately produced talking points stating that Labor would support new gas projects, subject to environmental approvals and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
Butler’s briefing kicked off rolling frustration and anger from MPs about Fitzgibbon’s constant public campaigning since the election defeat in 2019 for Labor to lower its ambition on climate policy – a backlash that seems set to continue into Labor’s regular caucus meeting on Tuesday.
The veteran Labor leftwinger Warren Snowden told the gathering Labor’s factional structure was supposed to impose discipline around internal deliberations and the public communication of policy, and Fitzgibbon, as a convener of the right faction and a senior frontbencher, needed to be held accountable for his frequent public interventions at odds with collective agreements.
Sources at the meeting say senior frontbenchers Tanya Plibersek and Linda Burney were highly critical of their shadow cabinet colleague.
Other left MPs expressed frustration that Fitzgibbon’s interventions were, as one MP put it during the meeting, “doing Scott Morrison’s work for him”.
He’s bloody dodgy in China as well so good riddance.