The welfare of coal mine workers and one of the nation's most important export industries has to play second fiddle to a climate change agenda because of a few "woke" ALP members are afraid of losing their seats to the Greens.
ALP leader Anthony Albanese, who is one of these aforementioned members and who is barely hanging on to his inner-city Sydney seat of Grayndler, had stern words with Fitzgibbon for being openly pro-coal.
Fitzgibbon subsequently retired to the backbench in frustration.
The ALP has not learnt the obvious lesson from the past federal election in which it was roundly rejected by voters in Central Queensland.
Those voters did not fall for the double speak on the issue of coal mining and Adani by former leader Bill Shorten.
At a state level, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk did learn the lesson and was careful not to go on a coal bashing spree.
Her treasurer Jackie Trad lost her inner-city South Brisbane seat but the ALP was voted backed in with a comfortable margin.
Fitzgibbon was merely giving the ALP advice it needed to hear.
It is hardly radical, yet he is painted as a demon by some holier-than-thou members of his own party who have very short memories about the formation of the Labor movement in Australia.
Historically, mining unions and the Labor Party have worked closely together to ensure the safety of coal mine workers and to deliver some of the best pay and conditions enjoyed by any workers in Australia.
This, surely, is nothing to be ashamed of.
The Labor Party was set up to protect workers and in the case of the coal mining industry, it seems to have succeeded with flying colours.
More recently, mining unions have been instrumental in improving safety standards in the industry by working with industry and government as was seen in Queensland in the investigations into the high number of fatalities in the state.
Coal mining has provided well paid employment in the regions of New South Wales and Queensland for generations.
Fitzgibbon knows his electorate and is a second generation member for Hunter himself.
Not only has coal been the backbone of NSW for more than 100 years it has also provided the industrial bedrock for which the Labor movement could evolve.
The ALP should take heed of Fitzgibbon's advice on promoting coal if it wants to stay out of the political wilderness.