Ernie Awards

The Ernie Awards are an Australian award for sexist comments.

It is named after Ernie Ecob, who was known for his sexist remarks. One of his best-known remarks was "Women aren't welcome in the shearing sheds. They're only after the sex," which is why there is a sheep on top of the Gold Ernie. [ Meredith Bergmann of the Ernie Awards] Mondo Thingo] The inaugural awards night was in celebration of him resigning from the Labor Council of New South Wales. [ What’s Wrong With The Ernies] Workers Online, Labor Council of New South Wales]

A dinner is held for 400 women each year, and the winner is determined by the person who receives the most booing when their sexist statement or action is read out. [ Sheikh wins gong for sexist comments] The Age, August 12, 2005]

A variety of categories have featured, such as the Gold Ernie, the Warney (for sport, named after Shane Warne), the Media Ernie, the Political Ernie, the Judicial Ernie, the Anon (for boys behaving better, formerly called the Gareth after Gareth Evans [ The Importance of Being Ernie] Workers Online, Labor Council of New South Wales] ), the Elaine (for females making comments unhelpful to the sisterhood, named after Elaine Nile) and the Clinton (for repeat offenders). The categories of offenders have changed over the years, according to Meredith Burgmann [ Sheilas put the mockers on ockers] The Observer, November 11, 2007]

A collection of comments have been compiled in "One Thousand Terrible Things Australian Men Have Said About Women" by Meredith Burgmann and Yvette Roberts.


Gold Ernie

* 1993: Joe De Bruyn, National Secretary, Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, "All childcare subsidies should be removed and reallocated to women who stayed home to mind their children"
* 1994: Terry Griffiths, former New South Wales Liberal minister: (in response to allegations of sexually harassing his staff) "I honestly believe that my personal behaviour was in a family mode. They're like my own kids. I'm a toucher...I have a habit of touching people in that regard. I'm old fashioned."
* 1995: Justice John Gallop, Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court: (upon imposing a bond upon a man convicted of raping a 12-year old girl), "Our jails would be full if we locked up everyone who did this,"
* 1996: Magistrate Ron Gething, Magistrates Court of Western Australia: (upon finding a man not guilty of stalking a woman for seven years), "I don't think he was intimidating her, he was just being persistent. He was like a little puppy dog wagging its tail."
* 1997: Michael Knight, New South Wales state Minister for the Olympics: (on why there were no women on the board of the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games) "Appointments are made on merit, not sex."
* 1998: Judge Nigel Clarke, District Court of Western Australia: (upon giving a two-year suspended sentence to a man for sexually abusing his daughter), "Indulgence is a pleasurable, curiosity-satisfying activity by an intelligent precocious girl."
* 1999: "Magistrate #1" (in a case reviewed by the Judicial Commission): "Women cause a lot of problems by nagging, bitching and emotionally hurting men. Men cannot bitch back for hormonal reasons, and often have no recourse but violence."
* 2000: Nick Bideau, ex-coach and partner of Cathy Freeman, "I never turned away from matter how fat she was in 1997, and even in 1998."
* 2001: John Howard, Prime Minister: said there was "no appropriate woman" for Governor-General
* 2002: Archbishop George Pell, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney: "Abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people."
* 2003: Stellar Call Centre: for docking the pay of a pregnant woman for taking too many toilet breaks
* 2004: Tooheys: for an advertisement stating "Boys, if you win you can have our sisters"
* 2005: Sheikh Feiz Mohammad, Islamic cleric: "A victim of rape every minute somewhere in the world. Why? No one to blame but herself. She displayed her beauty to the entire world...strapless, backless, sleeveless, nothing but satanic skirts, slit skirts, translucent blouses, miniskirts, tight tease man and appeal to his carnal nature."
* 2006: P&O Cruises: for the advertising slogans "More Girls. More Sun. More Fun. There's nothing else a guy needs to know!" and "Seamen Wanted!"
* 2007: Bill Heffernan. New South Wales Liberal Senator: for saying that Julia Gillard was not qualified to lead the country because she is "deliberately barren", and later justifying it with "I won't walk away from rude, crude and attractive as it was...if you're a leader, you've got to understand your community."

ilver Ernie — Industrial

* 1994: Lance Jamieson, union official, for using his union-provided credit card at Sydney brothel A Touch of Class
* 1995: Martin Ferguson, then president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, for calling women unionists campaigning for paid maternity leave "hairy legged femocrats"
* 1996: Labor Council of New South Wales
* 1997: Telstra
* 1998: HPM Industries, for sacking 20 male employees whose pay was being compared to their women coworkers on the eve of Industrial Relations Commission hearings on the matter
* 1999: [ Steggles] , for putting a woman on a roster she could not do because of her family, and opposing her case in court.
* 2000: Michael Costa
* 2001: John Elliott and Mark Mentha
* 2002: Dick Warburton
* 2003: Stellar Call Centre, for docking a pregnant woman $100 for going to the toilet too often. [ Damir pips Shane for 'the Warney'] Australian Broadcasting Corporation, August 22, 2003]
* 2004: Australia Post, for telling female workers to lose weight if they wanted to attend the opening of a new branch, and for cutting the maternity leave of a woman whose baby was premature. [ Tony Winner Bags an Ernie] Workers oline, Labor Council of New South Wales, August 20, 2004]
* 2005: Tara Anglican Girls School
* 2006: P&O Cruises, for an advertisement saying "Seamen wanted", an ad mentioned in the inquest of Dianne Brimble's death. [ Well-erned awards] Sydney Morning Herald, August 25, 2006]
* 2007: Ingham chicken, for using a breast awareness week slogan in advertising its chicken breast items. [ Enter the CPSU Ernie Awards and win!] Community and Public Sector Union]

ilver Ernie — Political

* 1994: Terry Griffiths
* 1995: Michael Hodgman
* 1996: Bob Katter
* 1997: Michael Knight
* 1998: Tony Smith and Iain Maclean
* 1999: Michael Thompson, for saying that "working mothers are the cause of many problems in society" [ Awards for sexist comments] Australian Broadcasting Corporation, September 3, 1999] and Queensland Young Liberals
* 2000: Michael Wooldridge
* 2001: Ron Best and John Howard
* 2002: Tony Abbott for saying paid maternity leave would happen over his dead body. [ Pell takes 'Gold Ernie' for abortion, abuse comments] Australian Broadcasting Corporation, September 13, 2002]
* 2003: Brendan Smyth
* 2004: John Howard, for vetoing an ad campaign against domestic violence, arguing against paid maternity leave, wanting to change the anti-discrimination act, and opposing plans by the ALP to offer the option of permanent part-time work with holiday pay and sick leave entitlements for casual workers.
* 2005: Brendan Nelson
* 2006: Bill Heffernan
* 2007: ?

ilver Ernie — Media

* 1994: Peter Smark and Bernard Zuel
* 1995: Paddy McGuinness
* 1996: Jeff Wells
* 1997: John Laws and David Barnett
* 1998: Robert Manne
* 1999: Paddy McGuinness
* 2000: D.D. McNicholl
* 2001: Mark Patrick
* 2002: Andrew Bolt
* 2003: Ron Casey, for saying that Kirsty Marshall's breastfeeding of her infant in parliament was a publicity stunt that managed to get her "boobies splashed all over the national press".
* 2004: Paddy McGuinness for saying that many pro-abortion activists have not devoted any serious thought to the issue since the 1970s.
* 2005: Dave Richardson
* 2006: Jeff Corbett for saying that NASA had a male as well as female engineer on board in case anything went wrong.
* 2007: ?

ilver Ernie — Judicial

* 1994: Justices Bland and Bollen
* 1995: Justice John Gallop
* 1996: Magistrate Ron Gething
* 1997: Judge Nigel Clarke
* 1998: Judge Nigel Clarke
* 1999: Magistrate #1, in response to a survey about domestic violence and apprehended violence orders, saying "hallelujah, women cause a lot of problems by nagging, bitching, and emotionally hurting men. Men cannot bitch back for hormonal reasons and often have no recourse but violence".
* 2000: Justice Kennedy
* 2001: Magistrate Steven Scarlett
* 2002: High Court of Australia
* 2003: Justice Roddy Meagher
* 2004: Paul Reynolds, for saying to his client "just let me feel those puppies then" (referring to her breasts) [ Barrister suspended after asking for sex] The Age, April 26, 2004]
* 2005: John Dorris and Ian Harrison
* 2006: Chris Papadopoulos for saying that a rape was "at the very bottom of the scale of seriousness" and brief.
* 2007: ?

The Warney for Sport

* 2000: Nick Bideau
* 2001: Cameron Williams
* 2002: Ray Hadley
* 2003: Damir Dokic, for saying that almost half of female tennis players were lesbians and that he'd kill himself if his daughter were one.
* 2004: Bulldogs chief executive Malcolm Noad, for saying "Let's believe nothing happened in Coffs Harbour," referring to a allegation of gang rape
* 2005: Willie Mason
* 2006: Grant Birse, Netball Australia marketing manager, for saying commentator Anne Sargeant was "old and detrimental" to the game.
* 2007: ?

The Fred — Clerical, Culinary, Celebrity

* 2001: Archbishop Jensen
* 2002: Archbishop George Pell, for saying that abortion was a worse moral scandal than sexual abuse of young people by priests.
* 2003: Neil Perry
* 2004: Tooheys, for an ad featuring a sign saying 'boys, if you win you can have our sisters' [ 'Sexist' beer ad takes Gold Ernie gong] Australian Broadcasting Corporation, August 20, 2004]
* 2005: Sheikh Feiz Mohammad
* 2006: Tom Cruise (attributed with a quote that Katie is tucked away, and that her life will thereon be about being a mother) and Peter West
* 2007: ?

The Clinton — for repeat offenders

* 1998: John Howard
* 1999: Piers Akerman and Alan Jones
* 2000: John Howard
* 2001: John Howard
* 2002: Tony Abbott
* 2003: John Howard
* 2004: Tony Abbott
* 2005: Tony Abbott
* 2006: Tony Abbott
* 2007: ?

The Elaine — for women

* 1994: Wendy Jones
* 1995: Blanche d'Alpuget, for saying "I do" to Bob Hawke [ A portfolio in a storm of piggery] Brisbane Times, November 3, 2007]
* 1996: Kathryn Greiner
* 1997: Janet McDonald
* 1998: Bettina Arndt
* 1999: Jocelyn Newman, for saying that people have other options if they can't afford childcare.
* 2000: Miranda Devine
* 2001: Pru Goward
* 2002: Bettina Arndt
* 2003: Sally Loane
* 2004: Jackie Kelly for saying that no-one in her electorate is interested in university education as "Penrith is pram city"
* 2005: Colleen McCullough
* 2006: Danna Vale
* 2007: Bettina Arndt

The Good Ernie

* 1994: Peter Sams
* 1995: Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
* 1996: Ernie Page
* 1997: Peter Cameron
* 1998: Ernie Page
* 1999: George Trumbull
* 2000: Bob Carr
* 2001: Bob Debus, Matt Foley, Rob Hulls and Peter Patmore
* 2002: Carter Holt Harvey Workers
* 2003: Mark Holden
* 2004: Adam Goodes, for calling his mum an inspiration and taking her to the Brownlow Medal dinner.
* 2005: Keysar Trad
* 2006: Gough Whitlam
* 2007: Kevin Rudd


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