Labor Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

A new collection of essays released last week sees leading figures from Labor’s Right faction soul-searching about their party’s electoral demise, with many arguing they must regain the trust of their "working class base" to remain competitive at the federal level.

The book’s co-editor Nick Dyrenfurth noted that “if there’s a recurring theme in the book it’s refocusing our efforts on winning back working class Australians in their full diversity”.

These chapters were published amid the backdrop of an identity crisis within the federal Labor caucus and serious leadership rumblings. MPs and commentators are frequently invoking the working class in this ongoing skirmish, but who are they actually referring to? And do they represent the true "working class" in modern Australia?