Tasmanian Labor senator Helen Polley says her involvement in the party's breakaway pro-coal Otis Group was born out of her "frustration" at the direction of policies regarding job creation in regional areas.
Senator Polley was one of 20 Labor members named in a Network 10 report this week that exposed the private talks being held about the party's policies regarding coal jobs and dissatisfaction with climate policy.
While she was not present at any of the dinners held at Canberra's Otis Dining Hall - where the group's name originated - Senator Polley admitted that she has had "conversations with people about the direction of policy areas", and she considered herself part of the group.
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"I've been frustrated for a long period of time with the direction that we are taking in regards to policies," she said.
"I'm about creating jobs, jobs in regional Australia, and I just think we have to be very mindful - I've expressed this to colleagues for many years - that the Greens are not friends of the Labor Party.
"We can't out-Green the Greens, and we really shouldn't. I will continue to talk to people about jobs, and regional jobs are critically important."
South Australian Labor senator and right-wing factional heavyweight Don Farrell was interviewed on his way into one of the dinners where he described the group as "a group of Labor people who are interested in supporting coal workers".
He admitted he was unsure whether party leader Anthony Albanese was aware of the meetings.
Senator Polley said the meetings were not designed to undermine the leader's authority.
"The Otis Group is no threat to Anthony Albanese, what we want to do is to support him," she said.
"We want to be in government. We want Albo to be prime minister. My responsibility is that Tasmania needs to have a Labor government."
Senator Polley is the only Tasmanian in the Otis Group, which is largely made up of MPs who originated from the right-wing union Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association.
Tasmanian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson said it was an unusual position for Senator Polley to take, given the lack of coal mining in Tasmania.
"How many coal workers are there in Tasmania? That's her electorate, so why is she involved in this shady group of right-wing MPs?" he said.
"There's no way on earth that Albo is soft on coal. He talks it up every chance he gets. He's committed to new coal mines.
"The fact that there's people in Labor who don't think he's going hard enough for coal is very frightening and that's what's going to lead Labor to electoral annihilation."