PM is going full Trump, says Labor MP

Gus McCubbing
Joel Fitzgibbon says Scott Morrison is copying Donald Trump's style, 'without the substance'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is mimicking Donald Trump from his penchant for baseball caps to his desire to cultivate patriotic fervour, Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon says.

But Mr Fitzgibbon told a Sydney Mining Club luncheon on Thursday that while the Australian PM was increasingly similar in style to the US president, he lacked Mr Trump's substance.

"Each time he (Mr Morrison) faces a crowd or a camera his main objective is to sound as much as he can like Donald Trump," the Labor MP said.

"He even, whenever the opportunity arises, dons the baseball cap."

Mr Fitzgibbon said when the Liberal leader didn't like a question he dismissed it as being related to the "Canberra bubble".

"Trump seeks to cultivate patriotic fervour with the phrase 'Let's make America great again," he said on Thursday.

"Scott Morrison's equivalent is 'How good is Australia'."

But that's where the differences ended, Mr Fitzgibbon argued.

He argued that whether you loved or loathed Donald Trump, the president was a "change-agent" who challenged the orthodoxy.

Mr Morrison, by contrast, spent the 2019 election campaign promising to change nothing and went on to keep that pledge once in office, the Hunter MP said.

"There is no economic plan beyond the promise of a budget surplus."

Mr Fitzgibbon - Labor's agriculture and resources spokesman - also took aim at the PM's recent claim that activists posed a significant threat to the mining industry.

Those comments came after protesters targeted the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne last week.

"None of us like it ... but I don't believe the biggest barrier to our future success is activists or anti-coal protesters," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"We have to be smart about the way we deal with them. I don't believe that shouting louder than them or calling them names is the way to respond."

Mr Fitzgibbon has criticised the ALP for failing to back resource workers ahead of the May 2019 federal election.

"The best thing we can do is better sell our industry, our environmental credentials ... (and) remind people how stringent our environmental tests are here in Australia."