Mr Fitzgibbon, who announced this week that he will not recontest his NSW seat of Hunter, said Labor had drifted from its blue-collar and aspirational middle-class base and was now dominated by trendy progressive thinking.
“The typical (Labor) party branch today is full of progressives who want to spend all of their time talking about climate change or gender equity rather than the things that really matter to people,” he said.
“We spend too much time laughing at our political opponents rather than strategising how we can beat them. The definition of madness is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. We think that we are morally and intellectually superior to them and yet they seem to kick our arses at every election.”
Since losing government in 2013, the former cabinet minister and shadow minister said Labor has been riddled with “hubris and delusion,” is captive to “institutionalised elitism” and often pays more attention to social media than the most important issues for voters.
Reflecting on his 25 years in parliament, Mr Fitzgibbon said the Rudd government was a “lost opportunity” and the Gillard government was marked by “crisis management” as the party became “a rabble”. He said the 2010 Labor-Green deal to help secure a parliamentary majority still damaged the party today.
“We gave up too much to the Greens,” he said. “We made some crazy concessions that we probably didn’t mean to make and that signing ceremony with the mob displaying their wattle in their lapels or jackets — in the regions that still haunts us today.”
For Labor to win the next election, Mr Fitzgibbon said the party had to focus on economic policy and national security, and convince voters it was a safe choice.
“(Anthony) Albanese has done his bit to bring us back to the centre ground,” he said. “I think that has cost him politically within sections of the left and therefore I give him credit for having the courage. But, while we are now on the right path, we are not quite there yet.”
Fair points. The ALP is fighting its own internal battle against wokeness, but losing.