The family of the John Monash have expressed their horror at the actions of Coalition backbenchers who have hijacked his name to promote their push for new coal fired power generators in Australia.
The family issued a statement on Wednesday expressing their dismay at the “anti-science and anti-intellectual” approach of the so-called Monash Forum, and their promotion of technologies from the “horse and buggy era”.
They said they have no doubt that Monash, a revered military leader and civil engineer who pioneered the use of brown coal in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley a century ago, would now embrace wind and solar rather than coal.
“It has come to our attention that a group of conservative politicians have formed themselves into a lobby group for coal,” they said in a statement, reported by the ABC.
This referred to the group led by former prime minister Tony Abbott, former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, Coalition energy committee chair Craig Kelly and between 20 and 30 backbenchers, most of whom also reject the science of climate change.
Their manifesto, basically summed up as coal subsidies good, renewable support bad, can be found here.
“At the very least it was discourteous to use it without informing us,” the family statement said.
“More than that, we disassociate ourselves specifically from the forum’s use of the Monash name to give their anti-science and anti-intellectual argument an air of authority and we ask that they withdraw the name.
The family said he developed coal for power generation when it was the leading technology, but they are sure today “he would be a proponent of the new technologies, [for example] wind and solar generation rather than revert to the horse and buggy era”.
Great grandson Mark Durré, who spoke on behalf of seven descendants, later told ABC Radio:
“He wouldn’t have had a bar of that sort of thing (reverting to coal technology). He would be very much an advocate of that new technology.
“We must move forward with new technologies. If you think about what it was like 100 years ago, coal fired was the cutting edge technology,” Durré said.
“Nowadays it is wind and solar. To go back 100 years … if Monash had done that, that would put them back into horse and buggy era, if you see the analogy.”
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, and is also the founder of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and founder/editor of www.TheDriven.io. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.