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Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon says party at risk of splitting in two

The Advertiser 2020-08-20 08:43:00

Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon has taken a subtle swipe at Anthony Albanese’s leadership, saying the party risks splitting in two.

Speaking on the Blenheim Partners podcast, Mr Fitzgibbon says Labor faces the challenges of reconciling its blue-collar workers and socially progressive supporter base.

He on Thursday told ABC Breakfast that the party needed to develop a middle-ground message in order to win government.

“As one party we have this challenge of satisfying a whole diverse range of people, and we’ve done that pretty successfully in the past,” he said.

“But we live in a very rapidly changing world, a world in which social media dominates.

“Labor needs to develop a middle-ground message for a broad and diverse community.”

Mr Fitzgibbon said he hoped it would never end in a split.

“It’s for the current generation of senior Labor people to ensure that that is never the case – both politicians, trade union leaders and, of course, the rank and file of our party,” he said.

“Anthony Albanese is showing, in my view, a very strong leadership, taking the party back to the centre ground where I think most Australians want us to be.

“People throughout the party, whether they be on the extreme left or the extreme right, have to give him space to do just that.”

Mr Albanese, who visited an aged-care home in Sydney on Thursday, downplayed Mr Fitzgibbon’s comments.

“He said sometimes, not in his lifetime, something might happen in the future,” Mr Albanese said.

“I’m concerned about today, I’m concerned about the relatives that I have met with this morning and aged care.”

However, Mr Albanese went on to say the party could win over the public by “being true to our values”.

Mr Albanese again put the pressure on the Federal Government, saying the aged-care sector was “broken”.

He said it was extraordinary that months after the Government had received a report about the Newmarch House coronavirus outbreak in NSW it still hadn’t been made public.

National co-ordination of aged care is understood to be on the agenda of National Cabinet on Friday.

Originally published as MP’s blunt message to Labor Party