It was silly and should never happen: Fitzgibbon


Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon has been praised for taking another stand against his own party – this time in regards to its social media antics.

The Cessnock-based member, who resigned from the federal frontbench late last year, expressed his disappointment recently about a Labor Tweet, which suggested Prime Minister Scott Morrison should not have had anything to do with United States President Donald Trump.

In fact, he was the first person to condemn the faction.

During a radio interview on Canberra’s 2CC on Wednesday 13 January, host Stephen Cenatiempo applauded Mr Fitzgibbon’s stance.

“Here’s an effective politician, who’s been really, really good, particularly in the past few weeks,” he said.

“Obviously, the talk surrounding social media at the moment is the fact Twitter and Facebook have banned Donald Trump.

“But, you came out and actually criticised a post Labor put out.”

Mr Fitzgibbon explained, as Australians, it was important to respect the Office of the President of the United States, no matter what side of the political fence you sat on.

“I mean, this is our closest ally, partner and friend,” he replied.

“And, it is a ridiculous suggestion that any Australian Prime Minister at any point in the future, or should have done so in the past, not have their photograph taken with the current US President.

“The real point I was making, what really offended me about that Tweet, was the way in which we were trying to conflate international relations with domestic politics.

“That’s a breach of Politics 101.

“It was silly and should never happen; and it was a mistake to perpetuate.”

In November, Mr Fitzgibbon made the tough call to remove himself from the frontbench, citing Labor’s disconnection with the blue-collar workforce, particularly the mining sector, of which he strongly represents.

“I think somehow over the course of the past decade we forgot that and we lost touch with traditional working people,” he said at the time.

“If you begin demonising coal workers, coal generation workers; you are immediately demonising oil and gas workers, power generation workers.

“By the time that message gets through, you’re demonising manufacturing workers – and it goes on and on.

“Labor must continue to epitomise the interests of working people in the regions and progressives in the cities.

“And, it’s a difficult balance.”

On that occasion, he found an unlikely ally in the form of NSW’s One Nation leader Mark Latham.