Joel Fitzgibbon ‘has been a champion of his local electorate’: Albanese

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says he is “very confident” the party will have a strong candidate to replace Joel Fitzgibbon in his Hunter seat.

Joel Fitzgibbon is set to leave federal parliament at the next election, after months of internal speculation about his future.

Mr Fitzgibbon’s exit will potentially leave his Hunter seat vulnerable – which he has held since 1996, after inheriting it from his father.

“Joel and I have known each other for a long period of time since Young Labor days,” Mr Albanese told Sky News Australia.

“We’ve had a few differences over the years, but we’ve had many more beers than we’ve had differences, together.

“I certainly wish Joel all the best for his future – he’s been a champion of his local electorate.

“And I’m sure that we will find another champion to advocate for the Hunter in the national Parliament.”