The Ernie Awards, or the 'Ernies', are Australian awards for comments deemed misogynistic. They are held annually.
It is named after former Australian Workers' Union secretary Ernie Ecob, who was known for his misogynistic 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. The inaugural awards night was in celebration of him resigning from the Labor Council of New South Wales.
A dinner is held for 300 women each year at NSW Parliament House, the winner being determined by the person who receives the most booing when their sexist statement or action is read out.
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 Good Ernie (for boys behaving better, formerly called the Gareth after Gareth Evans
the Elaine (for females making comments unhelpful to the sisterhood, named after Elaine Nile; and
the Trump (for repeat offenders).
The categories of offenders have changed over the years.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant restrictions, the 28th annual Ernies were unable to be determined by booing votes at the dinner. Instead, the winners of the awards were determined on October 1 2020 by an ‘Ernies Council of Elders’.
Here are the result, you may not agree with all . . .
Gold Ernie and Industrial Silver Ernie
Jayson Westbury CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents objecting to journalist and TV presenter Tracey Grimshaw’s reporting of a travel industry refund scandal. Said Westbury: “She needs to be given a firm uppercut or a good slap across the face”.
Westbury resigned after the furore over his comments with AFTA saying that his views and words were not condoned.
Tracey Grimshaw and Jayson Westbury
Political Silver Ernie
Senator Malcolm Roberts, for comments on the family law system: “But when you’re a father, and you can’t get access to your kids, and you can’t get access to the legal system properly, what else is there to do other than check out or hurt the other person?”
Greens Senator Janet Rice started pulling faces behind One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts in July 2019 while he was speaking in the Senate.
Celebrity/Clerical Silver Ernie (dead heat)
Council of the Order of Australia, for awarding Bettina Arndt an AM for “significant service to the community as a social commentator, and to gender equity through advocacy for men”.
Bettina Mary Arndt AM (born 1949) is an Australian writer and commentator who specialises in sex and gender issues. Starting as a sex therapist and feminist, she came to public prominence in the 1970s, establishing a career in publishing and broadcasting as well as writing several books. In the last two decades she has abandoned feminism and attracted controversy with her social commentary and her views on sexual abuse, domestic violence and men's rights advocacy.
Shore school boys for their ‘Triwizard Shorenament’ challenging students to have sex with a woman over 80kgs; aged over 40; or who is deemed to be a ‘3/10 or lower’.
Shore is one of the most elite private schools in Sydney.
Traditionally Year 12 high school students engage in “muck up” activities before their end of year final exams, a tradition which has increasingly come under fire for disrespectful, responsible, damaging and anti-social behaviour and activities. The activities planned by the Year 12 students at Shore were set out in a rule book which was called the Triwizard Shorenament, a reference to Harry Potter. It includes a scavenger hunt with points awarded for various acts and items, including those above. It also encouraged the participants to spit on a homeless man, get arrested and take two laxatives while eating spicy curry, with over 150 challenges listed. And these are the supposed intelligent and privileged future leaders.
Sport Silver Ernie (The Warney)
Israel Folau who claimed ‘Bushfires crippling Australia are God’s punishment for legalising abortion and same sex marriage’
Folau grew up as a Mormon, but moved to being an active member of the Assemblies of God Christian denomination in 2011. His father, Eni Folau, is a pastor. Folau has credited his relationship with God as a reason for his athletic success in the NRL, AFL and rugby union. In a 2017 article for Players Voice, Folau wrote that he reads the Bible every day and that faith in Jesus Christ is the "cornerstone of every single thing in my life."
Folau's statements about what he understands the Bible to say about same-sex marriage and homosexuality brought him into conflict with the administrators of Rugby Australia, and in 2019, they terminated his contract. Alleging that Rugby Australia terminated his employment on the basis of religion, Folau commenced proceedings in the Fair Work Commission but was unable to reach a settlement with Rugby Australia; he subsequently commenced proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and a confidential settlement between the two parties was released on 4 December 2019.
Judicial Silver Ernie
Qld Det Insp Mark Thompson says police are “keeping an open mind” about the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children after they were burnt to death in their car by her estranged husband. Who then killed himself. “Is it an instance of a husband being driven too far by issues he’s suffered by certain circumstances into committing acts of this form?”
Detective Thompson’s remarks drew intense criticism and he was stood aside from the investigation. The Police Commissioner stated that Detective Thompson was a man of integrity and dedication but had chosen his words poorly, that that the detective was gutted about the words he had used.
Industrial Silver Ernie
Jayson Westbury CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents objecting to Tracey Grimshaw’s reporting of a travel industry refund scandal. “She needs to be given a firm uppercut or a slap across the face”.
Media Silver Ernie
Michael Leunig for his cartoon and poem entitled Mummy Was Busy:
“Mummy was busy on Instagram.
When beautiful bubby fell out of the pram.
And lay on the path unseen and alone.
Wishing that he was loved like a phone”
Leuning’s poem and cartoon:
The Elaine for remarks least helpful to the Sisterhood (dead heat)
Bettina Arndt on the murder of Hannah Clarke and her children, having said: ”Congratulations to the Queensland police for keeping an open mind and awaiting proper evidence, including the possibility that Rowan Baxter might have been ‘driven too far’.”
Pauline Hanson, Deputy chair of the Family Court Enquiry, on women fabricating stories of domestic violence: ”A lot of the women out there abuse the system by instigating false DVOs against their former partners or their husbands. They use that to further their needs… Domestic violence orders have got completely out of hand”.
Pauline Hanson accused women of lying about domestic violence:
"There are people out there who are nothing but liars and who will use that in the court system," she told ABC radio. Senator Hanson refused to provide evidence to substantiate her claims, suggesting that journalists contact men's rights groups to back up the allegations.
The Good Ernie for boys behaving better
Actor Sam Neill. “I actually think it would be better if men just shut up for a while…Resist the urge to shout over the top of women. Stop being boofheads. And bullies… And when someone says 'You’re not the boss of me' you better believe it. You’re just a guy that messes up the house or the office.”
Some Leunig cartoons to finish . . .