ANALYSIS

Internal noise on climate will hobble actual policy fight

Joel Fitzgibbon speaks to Labor leader Anthony Albanese in the House of Representatives. Picture: Elesa Kurtz
Joel Fitzgibbon speaks to Labor leader Anthony Albanese in the House of Representatives. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

The dispute over climate change policy in the Labor party that resulted in Joel Fitzgibbon resigning as shadow agriculture and resources minister has been bubbling away for years, and looks set to be the monkey on Anthony Albanese's back until the next election, and possibly afterwards.

Mr Fitzgibbon has called his colleagues "delusional" for thinking that Joe Biden's victory in the United States meant federal Labor could also win government promising action on climate change and committing to a net-zero emission position by 2050.

And now he is sitting on the party's backbench, where he will be even more free to voice such views, making the task of the party's leader Anthony Albanese in taking the fight up to the government on such issues even more difficult than it already is.

"I'm not going anywhere," Mr Fitzgibbon told reporters in Canberra.

"And I'll be there, advising and giving any help that's required to the new shadow minister."

Labor faces an unenviable task - appealing to voters in cities across Australia who want action on climate change, and blue-collar workers in the outer suburbs and regional and rural areas who see such action as a threat to their income and way of life.

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The lack of a leadership race in the wake of the 2019 election, and the cancelled party conference, mean these issues haven't been fought out in the usual internal (although still very public) party processes.

On the other side of politics, Scott Morrison is managing to both acknowledge climate change, enact policies which he says are responding to the challenge, and satisfy conservatives in the party who have hobbled former leaders over the issue.

Labor can't hope to successfully challenge a Prime Minister in that position until it sorts out its internal issues first.

This story Internal noise on climate will hobble actual policy fight first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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