Labor leader needs to support coal, regional jobs: Fitzgibbon

Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon says he will have a tilt at the Labor leadership if no other candidate will stand up for regional Australia and the coalmining industry.

May 21, 2019, updated May 21, 2019
Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon said he warned the party against choosing climate change action over coal and regional jobs. Photo: AAP/Mick Tsikas

Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon said he warned the party against choosing climate change action over coal and regional jobs. Photo: AAP/Mick Tsikas

“I am considering doing so, yes, I would much rather someone else do it,” he told Nine’s Today program on Tuesday.

“But if I need to do it to secure the new path, the new direction we need, then I certainly will.

“I want a leader who is prepared to stand up and say: ‘I support the coalmining industry, I support getting cheap gas out of the ground to fuel our manufacturing sector and create jobs and I do want a big seat at the table for regional Australia’.”

Anthony Albanese remains the only Labor MP to officially declare his intention to contest the party’s leadership since Bill Shorten resigned on election night.

The long-time MP stressed that he would not take a unilateral approach to policy-making if he convinces the federal Labor Party to make him their leader.

Albanese believes Labor needs to take a hard look at some of their policies after Saturday’s election drubbing.

“There are issues that need re-examining,” he told ABC’s 7:30 on Monday.

“It’s up to the caucus. One of the things that I’m not going to do, if I’m elected as leader of the Labor Party, is to make policy on the run. I’ll talk with the caucus, we’ll consult.”

Other potential rivals are yet to declare their hand, with Labor’s treasury spokesman Chris Bowen still considering whether he will run.

Labor MP Jim Chalmers, who hails from the right, said on Monday night he was considering a tilt at the position.

“I’m considering it. I’m talking to my colleagues about it. I don’t think it’s unreasonable that a few of us take some time to work out what we want to do,” he told ABC’s Q&A program.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek has confirmed she won’t be throwing her hat into the ring for top job, despite support from across the party.

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“Now is not my time,” she said in a statement on Monday.

“At this point, I cannot reconcile the important responsibilities I have to my family with the additional responsibilities of the Labor leadership.”

Plibersek intends to continue as Labor deputy leader, until the party’s leadership is determined.

Labor national president Wayne Swan paid tribute to Ms Plibersek, but declined to say who should run.


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