The Ernie Awards for Sexist Remarks is now in its 29th year. Each year 300 women come together at a splendid dinner in NSW Parliament House to judge the most sexist remarks by public figures during the previous year.
The nominator of each winning quote carries home a silver Ernie (handsome silver pig on a plinth). The overall winner gets the Gold Ernie (sheep rampant on a golden orb). The winners are chosen by whichever nomination receives the loudest boos. In tight contests, a boo-off is required.
It is extraordinary that a fun awards night, organised entirely by voluntary labour has survived for more than twenty five years and is still going strong. There is even a best-selling book about it.
What began as a joke has morphed into a fun but deadly attack on Australian male sexism. Each year the Ernie Awards receive more and more media attention. The British press has always been fascinated by what they perceive as Australian ockerism. However the change from fun commentary to serious reporting really peaked in 2012 when the ABC Television news announced the winner on their 7pm bulletin.
Without further ado, the 2021 winners are:
GOLD ERNIE AND POLITICAL SILVER ERNIE
Senator Eric Abetz, when asked if Christian Porter was the unidentified minister who was accused of rape, “yes … but not to worry, the woman is dead and the law will protect him … as for that Higgins girl, anybody so disgustingly drunk who would sleep with anybody … she could have slept with one of our spies and put the security of the nation at risk.”
Ernies founder Dr Meredith Burgmann commented that “Senator Abetz is an outstanding winner, having ‘podiumed’ on previous occasions. He is almost certainly on his last lap as he has been relegated to an almost unwinnable spot on the Tassie senate ticket. In excellent form though, the Senator has blamed his relegation on sexism and ageism”.
INDUSTRIAL SILVER ERNIE
General Angus Campbell, Chief of Defence, told incoming female ADFA cadets, they should avoid making themselves prey to sexual predators by being aware of the “‘four As’: alcohol, out after midnight, alone and attractive”.
MEDIA SILVER ERNIE
Jeremy Cordeaux, SA radio host on Brittany Higgins allegations, “I just ask myself why the Prime Minister doesn’t call it out for what it is – a silly little girl who got drunk.”
JUDICIAL SILVER ERNIE
Judge Robert Sutherland, NSW District Court, regarding Nicholas Drummond who hit a young woman after telling her to “put her tits away”. Judge Sutherland wished Drummond ‘good luck’ and concluded, [He made] “a lewd and completely inappropriate remark towards someone he didn’t know but whose dress might have been perceived by a former student of Knox to be provocative”.
SPORT (THE WARNEY)
Ricky Stuart, coach, Canberra Raiders, “If I can’t have tough conversations with my better players, I might as well coach netball.”
POLITICAL SILVER ERNIE – Dead heat
Senator Eric Abetz, quoted above
Prime Minister Scott Morrison following Brittany Higgins’s allegations of rape, “Jenny and I spoke last night and she said to me you have to think about this as a father first. What would you want if it were our girls?…Jenny has a way of clarifying things”.
CLERICAL/CELEBRITY – Dead heat
Professor Magnus Nyden, Dean of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University doesn’t think there should be more women in sciences because, “a woman is biologically wired to be more concerned about people, and men about things”.
St Luke’s Grammar School For asking their male students to choose the qualities they would look for in a girl which allocated more points for virginity, looks and strong Christian values than for generosity and adventurousness. The girl students were given articles on the importance of virginity and how Satan provided opportunities for fleeting sexual encounters.
THE ELAINE (For the remark least helpful to the sisterhood) – Dead heat
Senator Linda Reynolds, Minister for Defence, referring to Brittany Higgins “She’s a lying cow”
Teena McQueen, Federal Liberal Party Vice President commented in a meeting, “I would kill to be sexually harassed at the moment”
THE GOOD ERNIE (For Boys behaving Better) – Dead Heat
Liberal MP Russell Broadbent asked the PM to convene a national gathering of women and that all cabinet submissions, new policies and legislation have a gender impact statement and that politicians “need to be quiet, listen and learn”.
Richard Hinds, ABC Sports reporter, “I’ve no idea whether (Rugby Australia CEO) Raelene Castle was a good CEO or a disaster. I’m 100% certain women in power are still held to a much higher account than men”
THE TRUMP (for repeat offender) Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison (1) talking about the Women’s March4Justice, “This is a vibrant liberal democracy Mr Speaker. Not far from here, such marches, even now, are being met with bullets, but not here in this country.”
Scott Morrison (2) following Brittany Higgins’s allegations of rape, “Jenny and I spoke last night and she said to me you have to think about this as a father first. What would you want if it were our girls?… Jenny has a way of clarifying things”.
Scott Morrison (3) to Grace Tame after her Australian of the Year speech detailing her experience of child sexual abuse “Well, gee, I bet it felt good to get that out.”
Dr Burgmann commented that “time for contemplation during lockdown has not made Australia a kinder, gentler place – for women”.
For further information visit ernies.com.au.
Ernie Awards Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas