The Monash Forum — a group of 20-odd backbenchers who this week announced they had formed to lobby for taxpayer subsidies for more coal-fired power station — are shrouded in mystery. Who are their members? How far will they go? What’s so good about coal, anyway? 

Crikey’s own Ben Pobjie has found himself in possession of their soon-to-be released community information sheet which answers at least one of those questions. 

With all the misinformation floating about our news media, it’s sometimes hard to find the truth about coal. The Monash Forum has released this information sheet to separate the MYTHS from the FACTS.

MYTH: Coal-fired power contributes to global warming.

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FACT: Extensive studies commissioned by the Monash Forum have revealed that burning coal FIGHTS global warming, as burning coal releases the power of unique coal particles that absorb heat and reduce temperatures. Monash Forum researchers have determined that coal fire is one of the coldest kinds of fire in the world, and can be used as a refrigerant.

MYTH: Coal is less environmentally friendly than other power sources such as solar energy.

FACT: Coal is actually made from PLANTS, unlike the sun, which is made of poisonous gas. Coal is grown in coal mines, or as they are more accurately termed by the Monash Forum, coal farms. Coal farms not only contribute to the greening of the countryside by encouraging the planting of more vegetation that can be turned into coal, they increase biodiversity by creating depressions in the ground in which birds can nest, and underground shafts that provide much-needed shelter for native animals in wet weather.

MYTH: Breathing in coal dust causes health problems such as “black lung”, a disease wherein the lungs are turned black rather than their usual pink.

FACT: Preferring parts of the body be pink rather than black is called RACISM. The Monash Forum fights racism at every opportunity.

Look at that beautiful coal

MYTH: Coal mining contaminates waterways.

FACT: As carbon-based life-forms, humans require carbon to survive — the added carbon in drinking water as a result of coal mining is a valuable dietary supplement.

MYTH: Coal tastes bad.

FACT: Coal has a rich, smoky flavour that many leading food critics have praised for its complexity and suitability to be paired with most fine wines. An exclusive survey by the Monash Forum found that coal is also the favoured recess snack among school-aged respondents when given the choice.

MYTH: Coal is incapable of love.

FACT: New data from the Monash Forum indicates that coal is not only capable of complex reasoning and tool-using behaviour, but also forms familial bonds and displays signs of anxiety when separated from loved ones. Lumps of coal kept in the offices of parliamentary members of the Monash Forum have exhibited distinct affectionate behaviours towards the members, and vice versa.