Ernie Awards

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The Ernie Awards are an Australian award for comments deemed misogynist.

It is named after former Australian Workers' Union secretary Ernie Ecob, who was known for his misogynist 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.[1] The inaugural awards night was in celebration of him resigning from the Labor Council of New South Wales.[2]

A dinner is held for 400 women each year[1] and the winner is determined by the person who receives the most booing when their sexist statement or action is read out.[3]

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[4]), the Elaine (for females making comments unhelpful to the sisterhood, named after Elaine Nile[4]) and the Clinton (for repeat offenders).[1] The categories of offenders have changed over the years, according to Meredith Burgmann.[5]

A collection of comments have been compiled in "One Thousand Terrible Things Australian Men Have Said About Women" by Meredith Burgmann and Yvette Andrews.[5]


Gold Ernie[edit]

  • 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 originally 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: for saying that 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."
  • 2008: John Molony: for calling on "beauty-disadvantaged women" to consider moving to the remote Australian mining town of Mount Isa in north-west Queensland where he is mayor.
  • 2009: Pastor Danny Nalliah: for blaming the Black Saturday bushfires on Victoria's abortion laws.[6]
  • 2010: Students of St. Paul's College, Sydney: for their "Define Statutory" group on Facebook.[7]
  • 2011: Herald Sun journalist Andrew Bolt: for saying 'Can the ADF afford this social engineering, in which gender becomes a qualification - and a fault line? What will this do to the tight mateship so critical to a fighting unit? Does a woman turn her male colleagues from warriors to escort?' [8]
  • 2012: 2GB radio broadcaster Alan Jones: for saying 'Women are destroying the joint, Christine Nixon in Melbourne, Clover Moore here, honestly there is no chaff bag big enough for these people.' [9]
  • 2013: Wesley College, University of Sydney students for distributing stubby holders bearing the words “It’s not rape if it’s my birthday.”[10]
  • 2014: Christopher Pyne, for claiming that increases in uni fees won't disproportionately affect women because "women are well-represented amongst the teaching and nursing students. They will not be able to earn the high incomes that dentists and lawyers will earn".[11]

Silver Ernie — Industrial[edit]

  • 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, formerly Labor Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism: for calling women unionists campaigning for paid maternity leave "hairy legged femocrats"
  • 1996: The 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.[12]
  • 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.[13]
  • 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.[14]
  • 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.[15]
  • 2007: Ingham chicken: for using a breast awareness week slogan in advertising its chicken breast items.[16]
  • 2008: Mark Wooden
  • 2009: NSW Police [17]
  • 2010: Mark McInnes, former CEO of David Jones, and mining executive Clive Palmer.[7]
  • 2011: The Australian Defence Force Academy: for charging (on an unrelated matter) the woman who was filmed without her knowledge in the Skype sex scandal.
  • 2012: David Farley, CEO of Australian Agricultural Company: for, when demonstrating a machine in an abbatoir, stating, 'it’s designed for non-productive old cows. Julia Gillard’s got to watch out.'
  • 2013: Wesley College, University of Sydney students for distributing stubby holders bearing the words “It’s not rape if it’s my birthday.”[10]
  • 2014: Wicked Campers, for including slogans such as "Fat girls are harder to kidnap", "In every princess, there's a little slut who wants to try it just once" and "Life sucks if your girlfriend doesn't".[11]

Silver Ernie — Political[edit]

Silver Ernie — Media[edit]

  • 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 Kirstie Marshall's breastfeeding of her infant in parliament was a publicity stunt that managed to get her "boobies splashed all over the national press".[13]
  • 2004: Paddy McGuinness for saying that many pro-choice activists have not devoted any serious thought to the issue since the 1970s.[14]
  • 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.[15]
  • 2008: John Westacott
  • 2009: Kyle Sandilands: for the lie detector stunt and for suggesting that comedian Magda Szubanski would lose more weight in a concentration camp.[19]
  • 2010: FHM Magazine[7]
  • 2011: Andrew Bolt
  • 2012: Alan Jones
  • 2013: Paul Sheehan: “The mask fell away” and Gillard came out “snarling, accusing Abbott of having a hatred of women, a man” he said – before his paper deleted it – “who unlike the Prime Minister, has raised three daughters.”[10]
  • 2014: Piers Akerman: "The ABC has tried to foist its left-wing agenda on the nation. Even the cartoon character Peppa Pig pushes a weird feminist line that would be closer to the hearts of Labor's Handbag Hit Squad than the pre-school audience it is aimed at".[11]

Silver Ernie — Judicial[edit]

  • 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".[12]
  • 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"[14] (referring to her breasts)[20]
  • 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.[15]
  • 2008: Roland Day
  • 2011: Clayton Utz for saying why there were only 20% women partners: "Certainly they are all females but each of them are extremely competent lawyers."
  • 2012: Senior Contsable Cary Coolican, for saying "Many sexual assault victims were too drunk or stoned to remember the details of the attacks… we would be encouraging people to make responsible choices regarding who they drink with and the quantity that is consumed. Some decisions may result in risky behaviour and unsafe actions."
  • 2013: Professor Paul Wilson: “My findings were remarkably similar to studies in California and Scandinavia which suggest child victims of adult sex offenders are generally willing or active participants, and that they not infrequently initiate the sexual relationship.”[10]
  • 2014: Philip Stricklan QC, for suggesting that former MP Jodie McKay's recall of a conversation might not be accurate because she was in "an emotional state".[11]

The Warney for Sport[edit]

  • 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.[13]
  • 2004: Bulldogs chief executive Malcolm Noad, for saying "Let's believe nothing happened in Coffs Harbour," referring to an allegation of gang rape[14]
  • 2005: Willie Mason
  • 2006: Grant Birse, Netball Australia marketing manager: for saying commentator Anne Sargeant was "old and detrimental" to the game.[15]
  • 2008: Sam Newman: for sticking a picture of Caroline Wilson (sports writer from The Age newspaper) to a mannequin dressed in lingerie and then making inappropriate remarks while touching the mannequin while on live TV.
  • 2009: Newcastle Knights player Simon Williams, for a comment on the Matthew Johns group sex scandal: "It's not during the act, it's the way you treat them afterwards. It could have been avoided if the players had put her in a cab and said, 'Thanks for that.'"[19]
  • 2010: Andrew Johns[7]
  • 2011: Ex-AFL player Peter 'Spida' Everitt: for saying "Girls! When will you learn! At 3am when you are blind drunk & you decide to go home with a guy, it's not for a cup of Milo!" on Twitter
  • 2012: Basketball Australia, for flying the female basketball team to the Olympics economy class, and the male team business class (despite Lauren Jackson being the Australian flagbearer).
  • 2013: Nick Riewoldt – said that team mate Stephen Milne who was charged with four counts of rape, should be allowed to continue playing because “Milney is the absolute heart and soul of the football club.”[10]
  • 2014: South Coast Winter Swimming Association, for in response to women swimmers wanting to join the club moved the following motions: "That the name of the South Coast Winter Swimming association should be changed to the South Coast Men's Winter Swimming Association. Member affiliation of the South Coast Winter Swimming Association is limited to males".[11]

The Fred — Clerical, Culinary, Celebrity[edit]

  • 2001: Archbishop Jensen
  • 2002: Archbishop George Pell, for saying that abortion was a worse moral scandal than sexual abuse of young people by priests.[18]
  • 2003: Neil Perry
  • 2004: Tooheys, for an ad featuring a sign saying 'boys, if you win you can have our sisters'[21]
  • 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")[15] and Peter West
  • 2008: Archbishop Peter Jensen and the Reverend Mark Driscoll
  • 2011: Dr Barry Walters, who said that "older mothers are selfish, self-centred and burden their children later in life with geriatric parents."
  • 2012: Family Voice Australia, for arguing against charges to the provocation defence saying ’The exclusion would effectively rule out the classic case of a husband unexpectedly arriving home to find his wife engaged in a sexual act with another man... these circumstances have traditionally been held to warrant a reduction in the seriousness of the offence from murder to manslaughter.’
  • 2013: Alan Jones: “Every person in the caucus of the Labor Party knows that Julia Gillard is a liar… The old man recently died a few weeks ago of shame, To think that he has a daughter who told lies every time she stood for Parliament.”[10]
  • 2014: Kyle and Jackie O, for their on-air questioning of Sports Journalist, Erin Molan on how many sportsmen she has had sex with, whether she has had a boob job, and whether she has ever slept with a cricketer.[11]

The Clinton — for repeat offenders[edit]

The Elaine — for women[edit]

  • 1994: Wendy Jones
  • 1995: Blanche d'Alpuget, for saying "I do" to Bob Hawke[22]
  • 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.[12]
  • 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"[21]
  • 2005: Colleen McCullough
  • 2006: Danna Vale
  • 2007: Bettina Arndt
  • 2008: Sophie Mirabella
  • 2009: Miranda Devine for: "Decades of androgynous feminism have stamped on chivalry, deriding men who opened doors or stood back for women as being sexist and patronising. It would have been better for women if feminism had appealed to men's better natures."[19]
  • 2010: Alannah Hill (Genevieve Jacobs ABC radio award rescinded by Meredith Burgman)
  • 2011: Pru Goward for attacking the community workers equal pay case, saying they 'failed to make their case' and referred to the 'so-called' wage gap'.
  • 2012: Kelly O'Dwyer, for calling Tanya Plibersek, Nicola Roxon and Deborah O'Neill the "handbag hit squad".
  • 2013: Janet Albrechtsen for: “While lack of humour infects both sides of politics, the Labor girls in particular need to loosen their pigtails. In Canberra today, there are far too few Fred Dalys and far too many Tanya Pliberseks.”[10]
  • 2014: Tie between Michaelia Cash: "In terms of feminism, I've never been someone who really associates with that movement. That movement was a set of ideologies from many, many decades ago", and Miranda Devine: "After rising to the top of her party through affirmative action, out first female prime minister cynically played the victim card. Her unscrupulous complaints about sexism and misogyny just empowered the worst kind of women to excuse their own failings, and justified every sexist stereotype".[11]

The Good Ernie[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Meredith Bergmann of the Ernie Awards Mondo Thingo
  2. ^ What’s Wrong With The Ernies Workers Online, Labor Council of New South Wales
  3. ^ Sheikh wins gong for sexist comments The Age, 12 August 2005
  4. ^ a b The Importance of Being Ernie Workers Online, Labor Council of New South Wales
  5. ^ a b Sheilas put the mockers on ockers The Observer, 11 November 2007
  6. ^ "Pastor Danny Nalliah wins top gong at Ernie Awards". Herald Sun. 1 October 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Abbott stars at sexist awards night". Sydney Morning Herald. 17 September 2010. 
  8. ^ Andrew Bolt receives 2011 Ernie award
  9. ^ Jones wins Ernie for sexist comments
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i 2013 Ernie Award Winners
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 2014 Ernie Award Winners
  12. ^ a b c d Awards for sexist comments Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 3 September 1999
  13. ^ a b c Damir pips Shane for 'the Warney' Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 22 August 2003
  14. ^ a b c d e Tony Winner Bags an Ernie Workers oline, Labor Council of New South Wales, 20 August 2004
  15. ^ a b c d e Well-erned awards Sydney Morning Herald, 25 August 2006
  16. ^ Enter the CPSU Ernie Awards and win! Community and Public Sector Union
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b Pell takes 'Gold Ernie' for abortion, abuse comments Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 13 September 2002
  19. ^ a b c d Nicholls, Sean and Dunn, Emily (2 October 2009). Others didn't have a prayer, Sydney Morning Herald
  20. ^ Barrister suspended after asking for sex The Age, 26 April 2004
  21. ^ a b c 'Sexist' beer ad takes Gold Ernie gong Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 20 August 2004
  22. ^ A portfolio in a storm of piggery Brisbane Times, 3 November 2007

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