REGRETFUL and at times brutally honest, that would be the easiest way to describe Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon's performance on ABC's Q&A on Monday night.
After surviving a scare from The Nationals' Josh Angus and Pauline Hanson's One Nation candidate Stuart Bonds in his electorate, the experienced politician seems to have received a wake-up call.
As a result of that, the newly-appointed Shadow Minister for Resources has been more vocal since the election, publicly questioning some of his party's messaging during the campaign.
He was on the front foot from the beginning during the famed ABC program, replying candidly to a question about whether Labor treated voters who did not agree with their more progressive, city-focused policies - such as those in the Hunter - as "deplorables".
"An absolute yes, we were punished at the election for many of the things we promised to do," Mr Fitzgibbon said.
"We were far too complex for the electorate, we were promising too much change at a time where people were feeling insecure.
"What we needed to offer them was a greater sense of security.
"I think more than anything this election was about security, mainly financial security."
He made a point of highlighting the aspirations of many coal miners in the Hunter, who are on good wages and looking to increase their wealth through the likes of negatively geared properties, and said the party's attitude towards different classes was too simplistic.
"When we declared that we were going to, if you like, take from the rich to give to the poor, we forgot to define who the rich are," the former Minister for Defence said.
Mr Fitzgibbon did, however, double down on his assertion his political opponents ran a scare campaign and exploited the ALP's poor communication over the future of mining.
He remains adamant that despite Labor's emphasis on addressing climate change, they didn't have any anti-coal mining policies, but opened themselves up to be attacked in that fashion.
Host Tony Jones quizzed him further on whether the party had lost touch with its traditional, blue collar voters, and Mr Fitzgibbon once again confirmed they had to some extent, although he said it was through error not intention.
The almost stunningly blunt answers and overall sentiment the local MP provided could be viewed as either refreshing or outright grumpy.
But, it has become clear that Joel Fitzgibbon will not be taking a backseat role in the shadow ministry over the next three years.
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