Last night in Sydney, the 30th Ernie Awards for Sexist Remarks were celebrated at a glittering ceremony at NSW Parliament House, with guests including former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and former Deputy Premier Jackie Trad; ABC Gruen’s Dee Madigan; social commentator and author Jane Caro; and NSW Labor MP Penny Sharpe.
Each year 300 women come together at a splendid dinner 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 of the awards for sexism were allocated to public figures in the traditional way: the loudest boos (in tight contests, a boo-off is required).
The awards came about because of truly sexist remarks made by Ernie Ecob who was the secretary of the AWU, the old Shearers’ Union.
There are six categories, plus the ‘Good’ Ernie, The ‘Elaine’, for the woman who makes the remark least helpful to the sisterhood and the ‘Clinton’ (renamed the ‘Trump’ in 2017) for a repeat offender
The 2022 winners are:
GOLD ERNIE AND MEDIA SILVER ERNIE
Columnist for The Australian Paul Kelly wrote before the election: ‘The women’s movement won’t decide the next election.’
JUDICIAL SILVER ERNIE
Queensland Police: A Queensland police officer giving evidence to the Queensland inquiry into domestic violence recalled hearing colleagues describing rape as ‘surprise sex’ and saying ‘domestic violence is just foreplay’ and ‘she’s too ugly to be raped’.
POLITICAL SILVER ERNIE
Victorian MP Bernie Finn in a speech about abortion said he knew pregnant rape victims who had ‘never been happier’ after having their child.
INDUSTRIAL SILVER ERNIE
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet for designing a new logo for the women’s network that looked like a large purple cock and balls.
SPORT (THE WARNEY)
Fox Footy reporter Tom Morris commenting on a female sports broadcaster (who he named): ‘Unfortunately she’s a lesbian, lads – hottest girl at Fox by a long way. Unfortunately, she’s got a licker licence. She’s very good at it.’
Hillsong pastor Brian Houston regarding his staff member sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman at a social function: ‘We’re not talking about a sexual predator here… a young married man who did something stupid, got much drunker than he should… and got himself in a bad situation. That’s it.’
THE ELAINE (For the remark least helpful to the sisterhood)
Columnist at the Australian Janet Albrechtsen on the Brittany Higgins allegations: ‘The PM seems to be frightened of women who think they should be free to roam the landscape, pointing the bone at alleged offenders without benefit of trial or other traditional niceties.’
THE GOOD ERNIE (For Boys behaving Better)
Radio personality Kyle Sandilands commenting on NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet: ‘How can someone run a state like New South Wales and be anti-abortion and anti-gay rights?’
THE TRUMP (for repeat offender) Scott Morrison
The Ernie’s day is done
For better or for worse, this was the last Ernie awards.
Ernies founder and organiser Dr Meredith Burgmann said at the ceremony that the 30th edition would see the Ernies out.
‘We decided that 30 years was a good run and, like Ash Barty, we should quit while we’re on top.’
You can see the history of the winners and the ‘dishonour’ board on the Ernies website.