Monash family appalled by Coalition's "horse and buggy" approach to energy | RenewEconomy

Monash family appalled by Coalition’s “horse and buggy” approach to energy

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Monash family appalled by Coalition’s use of name to push “anti-science” and “anti-intellectual” arguments for technology of “horse and buggy era.”

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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.”






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  1. Chris Pearce 2 years ago

    The troglodyte element within the Coalition is hopeless. They have no understanding of science, economics, statistics or much else. Not even the bulk of the Coalition pays any attention to them.

    • Ken Fabian 2 years ago

      The not paying attention to them bit is actually quite disturbing to me. Instead of facing them down, the bulk of the coalition (if indeed the bulk do have different views) keep their heads down and mouths closed and allow policy based on irresponsible rejection of expert advice on climate to go unchallenged, without critique or criticism.

      • MaxG 2 years ago

        Isn’t there a word for it? Like: cowards!

      • Farmer Dave 2 years ago

        Excellent points, Ken. Really, we should expect more from our MPs. We should not expect them to know everything, but we should expect them to recognise where they lack the specific expertise, and to seek to engage with people who genuinely do have that expertise. Indeed, I think we should regards MPs who fail to obtain expert advice on matters outside their direct knowledge as having brought the Parliament into disrepute.

    • MaxG 2 years ago

      Well, let’s be realistic; it is stupid people electing stupid leaders! Essentially 48% won’t move from their LNP positions — that says it all… a hopeless cause.

  2. Peter G 2 years ago

    Monash as head of the SECV oversaw the building of Yallorn – an idealistic (if paternalistic) project – a garden town that provided great amenity for a permanent work force. This mob is more or less the team that brought us workchoices – what a bunch of shameless bullies. Unlike Monash, this lot have rejoiced in tearing down working and living conditions with every opportunity – and unlike Monash I doubt they will leave any legacy to be celebrated.

    • Barri Mundee 2 years ago

      Tony Abbott will be pedalling through the Latrobe Valley on Monday. I am tempted to buy a few packets of tacks to fertilise the road just as he passes. D)

      Direct Action!

  3. Syd Walker 2 years ago

    Am I the only person in the country who finds this seemingly ubiquitous Monash worship overdone?

    The real heroes of WW1, in my opinion, were the men and women who were war resistors – people of the calibre of Bertrand Russell and (in Australia) the leaders of the anti-conscription campaigns. Monash, a general who went along with and benefitted from the mass slaughter, is not my hero. I don’t care what he may or may not have thought about solar energy. Using this particular counterfactual in the COALition’s pathetic “let’s keep the coal industry alive” campaign is one more indication that these people are living in the past at a time when we should be focusing on creating a MUCH better future.

    • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

      Germany was the aggressor / invader (in both wars) and had to be repelled. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. Do you think the allies should have just let the Germans walk all over France, Belgium, England and the rest of Europe?

      Haig was the architect of the mass slaughter. He couldn’t adapt to modern warfare even when the evidence was in. There was no need to go on the offensive except to satisfy Haig’s old-fashioned military ego and antiquated ideas of war. The allies should have taken a highly defensive stance and let the Germans deplete their own troops at a faster rate with all of the infantry charges against highly defended positions. The Germans were the invaders afterall and they were the ones with the highly stretched supply lines. The British had superior artillery and should have concentrated just on knocking out all German artillery, forcing the Germans into even more charges across no-mans land, depleting their forces faster and bringing an end to the war sooner.

      Monash was a fast learner and concluded that the allies should attack only when the odds were overwhelmingly in their favour, and with co-ordinated support from tanks, aircraft and artillery. He was anti mass slaughter.

      It’s unfortunate that these coal hugging morons have chosen Monash instead of some other military figure more suited to their old-fashioned political egos and antiquated ideas of energy generation.

      • Syd Walker 2 years ago

        Hi Ren. This is not an appropriate place to debate the ins and outs of WW1, so this will be my last post here on that topic. I merely wanted to register that one person at least is fed up with references to WW1 that help to sanctify that bloody and disastrous conflict and its prominent participants.

        You write “Germany was the aggressor / invader.. and had to be repelled. There’s absolutely no doubt about that”. Actually, a cursory review of the relevant literature would show anyone capable of reading that there is considerable doubt about responsibility for WW1.. with numerous historians, including “mainstream” historians, lining up on either side of the debate. Please don’t insist it’s a “Case Closed” when that case is quite evidently NOT closed – not even a century later.

        • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

          Aha, so Kaiser Willy pro-actively built up his army from 500k in 1871 to 3.8 million by 1914 just for shits and giggles?

        • John Saint-Smith 2 years ago

          While I agree with your sentiments about WW1, I don’t believe your criticism of Monash or the hundreds of thousands of Australians who volunteered to ‘fight for King and country’ were vile aggressors while those who resisted were ‘heroes’. Monash was a great man in many many respects, but he was not a rebel. Is that now to be considered a crime?

        • neroden 2 years ago

          It has been argued that the real villians of World War I were the arms manufacturers, who promoted war for profit. (Now, the arms manfuacturers promote the massacring of children in the US for profit by funding the NRA.)

          It has also been argued that the real villians of World War I were the countries which made secret treaties which caused a small Balkan conflict to blow up into a world war.

    • rob 2 years ago

      Don’t reply to ren stupid! Block him like many others including me……He is only ever here to make trouble

  4. john 2 years ago

    Good to see the descendants have some backbone.
    Well done them.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      The genuine… ‘Monash Forum’.

  5. Eric 2 years ago

    What a bunch of bone heads. They really are becoming the laughing stock of Australia.
    From what I’m hearing this whole Monash Forum thing has turned into a complete debacle within the Liberal party, people are running from it as fast as they can, hiding down holes and heading for the hills.
    Unfortunately or fortunately the Abbott and Joyce axis of evil has shot itself in both feet with both barrels. Morons.

  6. remoteone 2 years ago

    These members of the coalition still see coal as a kind of magic rock (they even introduced it to parliament with great adoration).
    You dig it out of the ground, burn it and get instant energy, what could possibly be the problem!? They seem quite unable to cope with the thought that the planet can’t cope with bringing all that carbon dioxide back to life again, having buried it millions of years ago. Occasionally, I’m sure their minds would stray to the thought that maybe, there was the remotest possibility that global warming was being caused by burning fossil fuels. The consequent cognitive dissonance would have them panic, go find a piece of coal and hug it for comfort.

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