The federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon has described a Parliamentary Friends of Coal Exports group as "childish" and "another little stunt" by Liberal MP Craig Kelly. Meanwhile Labor MP for the Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon has offered to co-chair the group, and Paterson MP Meryl Swanson has joined the bi-partisan clan.
Ms Claydon told the Newcastle Herald she was "saddened" by Mr Kelly's proposal.
"I will always be a very strong advocate for the port," she said.
"I also want to be a strong advocate for planning for the future. The idea that some people are friends of coal exports and some people aren't is childish in my view.
"The time for division is over. This government has presented 14 energy policies in this parliament and not one of them has been successful.
"We actually need to work together to create a serious energy plan for Australia and to work out what a just transition plan looks like in the decades to come."
"We actually need to work together to create a serious energy plan for Australia."MP Sharon Claydon
Mr Fitzgibbon said he was "a bit bemused" by the interest in his participation in the group.
"If that helps to remind people that Labor does support the coal industry then that would be a good thing," he said.
"We are a developed and wealthy nation and over time the market will determine that we increasingly get more energy from renewable resources, that's not government deciding - that's the market.
"But in Asia we still have developing countries which will demand our coal for many decades to come. Developed nations like Japan and South Korea will continue to demand coal for many years and that's a good thing. We are a much wealthier nation as a result of our mining industry."
Ms Swanson said parliamentary friendship groups were an "excellent way of accessing leading edge information" on subjects of special interest and generally involved informal information sessions with industry representatives and experts.
"I want to be part of the ongoing conversation and policy direction that impacts such an important industry to the people I represent," she said.