Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon has threatened to quit the Labor Party following the party's loss in the Upper Hunter by-election.
The result, which saw a 7 per cent swing against Labor, has reopened deep divisions within the party at a state and federal level.
Mr Fitzgibbon said while the Labor's policies on jobs and job security for the resources sectors were generally sound, it had again failed to reach voters with its message.
"People were very warm towards me on Saturday on the polling booths but told me 'Good on you Fitzy, we appreciate your work but we don't trust your mob," he said.
"It's a difficult situation for me. I want to represent my electorate where up to 100,000 people rely on the coal mining industry for their livelihoods and at the same time try to persuade my party - which says it supports the coal mining industry - to be louder and clearer about that and demonstrate it in some way."
The latest embarrassment for the party came last week when Mr Fitzgibbon and Paterson MP Meryl Swanson expressed support for the Federal Government's $600 million gas peaker plant at Kurri Kurri while most of their parliamentary colleagues opposed it.
Mr Fitzgibbon challenged his party to rise above mixed messaging and clearly demonstrate its commitment to jobs in the resources sector.
"I'm saying to the Labor Party give me some hope of winning government...I don't mean winning in the electorate, I mean give me some hope of winning government and I will be there with you," he said.
"But if you are determined to lose and let down the millions of people who rely on us to form a government then I will have to think about going and doing something else."
Shortland MP Pat Conroy disputed Mr Fitzgibbon's analysis of by-election result adding it had no relevance to the federal sphere.
"I stood on a polling booth and not a single person raised a federal issue with me," he said.
Mr Conroy said the swing to Labor at the Muswellbrook booth was proof the party's message had not been lost in the traditional National heartland.
He also accused his Labor colleague of seeking to damage the party through his public comments.
"We are on completely different pages. I'm on a page that 98 per cent of the federal caucus is on. He [Joel Fitzgibbon] is hurting Labor by doing what he is doing," Mr Conroy said.
But Paterson MP Meryl Swanson said Mr Fitzgibbon's concerns were valid.
"Joel is right. For whatever reason people are not hearing what we are saying to them. We are not selling our message strongly enough or in a way that resonates with people," she said.
"Pat is also right though, (Upper Hunter) has been a Nationals seat for 90 years and there are rusted-on Nats that will always vote that way."
Ms Swanson described the by-election as a valuable 'check-in' which had delivered some hard truths for the party at both state and federal levels.
"We would be wise to take heed... we need to go back to those critical issues for people which are their health, their jobs and their cost of living and things like housing," she said.
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Labor leader Anthony Albanese talked down the federal implications of the by-election result.
"Let's get a bit of perspective here, quite frankly," Mr Albanese told reporters on Monday.
"This is a seat that Labor has not held in the last nine decades at any time, at any time whatsoever.
"This is a seat whereby, frankly, a couple of elections ago we would have struggled to find people to hand out how-to-vote cards."
Mr Albanese said the National Party's primary vote in Upper Hunter had plummeted by 24 per cent in recent years, while Labor's primary was not that much to begin with.
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