Joel Fitzgibbon says Labor seems to be once again trying to talk to two different constituencies on the issue of coal and climate change.
“We either support the coal mining industry or we don’t,” the Labor backbencher said.
His comments come after Labor’s draft climate policy was revealed to include a medium-term climate target for 2030 or 2035 pushed by shadow climate minister Mark Butler.
Mr Fitzgibbon said it is a “mistake” for opposition parties to set such targets as they clearly aren’t equipped with the “guidance and advice” to determine whether a target is achievable or not.
“Once a target is set for a given commitment period then it remains the target for all the period regardless of whether there is a change in government”.
The draft policy platform also made no mention of the coal industry, but instead referred to the ‘resources industry’ as a catchall phrase for all mining and resources, which Mr Fitzgibbon said he “doesn’t buy”.
“That sounds like us trying to talk to two different constituencies at different times,” he said.
The Labor Party backbencher resigned from his shadow resources portfolio amid ongoing tensions within the party over its policy on climate change.
Mr Fitzgibbon said he wants to “settle the climate wars” but politicians from both sides of the aisle need to be truthful with the Australian public.
He said Mark Butler’s comments that it would take Australia 146 years to reach net-zero emissions on the government’s current trajectory is “not believed” by Australians.
“It’s certainly in Labor’s interest and it’s certainly in the country’s interests to put the climate wars behind us because the warring is doing damage to our international standing and it’s not doing much to help the climate,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“Labor can have the best climate change policy but it doesn’t mean much if it stays in the top drawer after every election.”