Just as no one remembers who Oscar actually was, few people remember the original Ernie. However, women in the trade union movement in the 1980s and 1990s recall him well.
Ernie Ecob was the secretary of the AWU, the old Shearers’ Union, and was famous for his comment that women only wanted to be shearers for the sex. Those of us involved in the trade union movement in NSW had battled with him on many occasions. So in May 1993 when he announced his resignation, Vicki Telfer from the CPSU suggested that we have a lunch to celebrate. And that’s how it all began.
At that first lunch a trophy was awarded for “the most bestial remark of the year”. The trophy featured a miniature portrait of Ernie Ecob and a sheep rampant atop a brass plinth, a reference to Ernie’s origins in the Shearers’ Union. Guests were advised to wear a “good frock – something Ernie would approve of” and forty women came, suitably attired.
We all had a wonderful time and promised to repeat the exercise the next year.
From there the Ernies grew and grew. There are now 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
Ernies Awards 2022
The 2022 Ernies Awards began with excellent pre-publicity as the media discovered it was the 30th and final awards night. Andrew Hornery wrote his usual gossip
column preview in the SMH which he has done for the last decade (after the retirement of Deb Jopson).
On the night, women were excited and happy to be there at the final bash but sad at the same time.
The winners of the various categories are always a bit predictable but the winner of the final Gold Ernie, the journalist Paul Kelly was a bit out of the box. It was quite hard to explain to the media why the women had chosen his statement that “the women’s movement won’t decide the next election”.
There was an air of triumphalism in the vote, not so much horror and outrage but triumphalism because we all knew that Paul Kelly was wrong – that in fact women
had decided the 2022 election.
The dress theme was ‘come as your gal hero of the last 30 years’ and we had suggested from Dolly Parton to Grace Tame. There were a number of Grace Tames but surprisingly few Dolly Partons. We had really expected the gals to go to town on one last chance to get into fishnet stockings.
However, there were some wonderful dress-ups. There was a horde of Greta Thunbergs chanting “how dare you!”; some excellent Ruth Bader Ginsburgs in her
famous lace collar made from someone's petticoat or a paper doily; there was Pussy Riot (including our host Penny Sharpe) under thick woollen ski-masks; and a table full of women wearing masks of the fistula doctor Catherine Hamlin.
Yvette, as always, donned a moustache and this year came as her fave boy, Tony Armstrong. She was so convincing that even Tony Armstrong eventually tweeted that she had got every detail right – including the purple t-shirt.
Meredith’s son and daughter-in-law came as her, not only in correctly multi-coloured wigs, but wearing her clothes including the pink Tartan jacket that she wore to many Ernies nights. Carmel Tebbutt mentioned that she recognized the jacket before she recognized the son.
The presenters were an interesting bunch. Former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh had the honour of presenting the Judicial Silver Ernie to the Queensland police and
gave an elegant but loaded speech.
Other presenters were former deputy premier of Queensland, Jackie Trad, deputy premier of NSW Carmel Tebbutt, media commentators Dee Madigan and Jane Caro, and Ernies regulars, Robin Fortescue, Jo Haylen, Rose Jackson and Verity Firth.
The photo op of the night, the gold Ernie was presented by 1980s pin-up girl, Jane Singleton.
The final Ernies year was topped off by the news that the Coonamble Times was doing an in-depth story of Ernie Ecob’s time as an AWU organizer in that town.
Many groups (particularly young women) came up to us during the night and offered to continue with the Ernies, which was terrific. But we had decided to, like Ash Barty, bow out on a high and we're still very sure that was the right decision.
We thanked the Parliament House staff, including Tony, who told us proudly that he had been in attendance at twenty Ernies Awards.
At the end of the night, we ceremonially handed over our archives to Maggie Patton from the State Library who assured us that our papers would be in there with the Miles Franklin manuscripts and ‘other famous dox’.
And remember “Keep them Nervous”
"“The women’s movement won’t decide the next election.”"
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.”
Victorian MP Bernie Finn
Victorian MP Bernie Finn in a speech about abortion said he knew rape victims who had “never been happier” after having their child.
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
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.
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 girl 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.”
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.”
Kyle Sandilands commenting on Dominic Perrottet – “How can someone run a state like New South
Wales and be anti-abortion and anti-gay rights.”
Dr Burgmann commented on the fact that this was the last Ernies Awards... "We decided that 30
years was a good run and, like Ash Barty, we should quit while we’re on top”
10,000 years of angry women
Eric Abetz and the ‘Streisand Effect’
Gosh, what is it about lockdown that breeds controversy?
This year, brought the usual chaos and drama on steroids, despite the fact that once again the Ernies judging had to take place via Zoom with the Ernies Council of Elders presiding.
First of all, we decided that the good Ernie should go to Liberal MP Russell Broadbent for an excellent speech about the need to consult women only to discover at a late date that he was a soft anti-vaxxer. So we squashed that one.
After we had sent out the final list of winners, we got approached by Senator Eric Abetz’s office who told us that the Senator flatly denied having made those comments, even though they had been read out in Parliament by the Speaker of the Tasmanian Parliament.
Given that we have gone 29 years without ending up in court. We readily agreed to the Abetz office request. We agreed to add the word ‘alleged’ to the citation for the Gold Ernie. So we sent out a new media alert to that effect.
The media then reported the Senator’s denial that he had made the remarks. More publicity!
On the whole, social media was huge and there was much support for the eventual winners, including the Trump (for repeat offenders) for Scott Morrison. Individual women started tweeting out the winners as they were reported.
One of the write-ups was in the Sydney CBD column, which gave us our first Ernies cartoon in the mainstream press. (Apart from our wonderful Fiona Katauskas numbers)
And Meredith is extremely pleased that she was drawn with nice arms. Because we always remember the famous, Gold Ernie winner of 2001, Mark Patrick who said “Sleeveless is a bad look on Australian women, particularly for those over 30”. Ouch.
"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.""
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”
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,".
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,”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison
following Brittany Higgins’ 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”.
"If I can't have tough conversations with my better players, I might as well coach netball"
Professor Magnus Nyden and St Luke’s Grammar School
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"
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.
Liberal MP Russell Broadbent and Richard Hinds, ABC Sports reporter
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”.
“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”
Senator Linda Reynolds and Teena McQueen
Minister for Defence, referring to Brittany Higgins “She’s a lying cow”
Federal Liberal Party Vice President commented in a meeting, “I would kill to be sexually harassed at the moment”
Prime Minister 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."
(2) following Brittany Higgins’ 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”.
(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.”
ERNIES TRIUMPH THROUGH COVID
Ernies in the time of Covid was obviously going to be a bit different. Blokes hadn’t stopped saying terrible things so there needed to be a place for these to be properly aired, even if we couldn’t come together in our traditional boozy and boos-ey dinner.
Fiona Katuskas started us off with her wonderful covid-defeating cartoon for the invitation. That was our obvious theme for the year. Women were the brave and hard working front line health workers, teachers and carers. They were also the retail and hospitality workers who were the first to lose their jobs.
We decided to have a virtual Ernies event where a ‘Council of Ernies Elders’ would sit in judgement on the quotes. We asked some of the original Ernies gals to join the normal organising group and then this group of faceless women set off into zoom land. We had always been accused of rorting the results so this was our chance to actually do it. Aided by a few gins and much laughter we were remarkably unanimous in our decisions.
Without the heat and passion of a normal Ernies dinner, we found we were able to really concentrate on the quality of the quotes rather than just booing the blokes who got up our noses. Consequently, the winners of the various categories were all considered worthy laureates and the Gold Ernie winner was a smash hit (probably not the appropriate words).
The media did not miss a beat. They treated the virtual event with the same seriousness (or lack thereof) as they usually did. The coverage was excellent. Once again the event attracted a lot of social media as well as mainstream reporting. The Sydney Morning Herald previewed the event for the 28th straight year.
We just hope that we never need to do it this way again. For one thing, Yvette wants to get back into the moustache vibe and we all rather missed the chaos and jolliness of the night.
"She needs to be given a firm uppercut or a slap across the face."
"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?"
Council of the Order of Australia and Shore school boys
For awarding Bettina Arndt an AM for “significant service to the community as a social commentator, and to gender equity through advocacy for men.”
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."
"Bushfires crippling Australia are God’s punishment for legalising abortion and same sex marriage."
“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?”
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."
Bettina Arndt and Pauline Hanson
"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’.”
"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."
“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.”
Fifty years since the 1969 equal pay decision
The night celebrated 50 years since the 1969 Equal pay decision which was a big step in the long (and unfinished) struggle of Australian women for wage parity. For the fancy dress theme we asked women to think along the lines of the US women’s soccer team who had just convinced a stadium of 72,000 people to chant equal pay; and of course our own equal pay icons Edna Ryan and ACTU leader Sally McManus. There were plenty of Megan Rapinoes with purple hair (Captain of the US team and leader of the equal pay push) and a few gals in Sally McManus masks but on the whole not a great night for frocks. The select few are obviously holding out for a theme where they can slip back into their fishnet stockings (sigh).
A sad moment occurred when the inaugural Margaret Jones trophy was awarded for the best nominations of 2019. Queen of the Ernies, Margaret died earlier in the year and we think it was the first Ernies dinner she had missed for over twenty years. Inaugural winner was Prue Brown.
However we were able to celebrate two huge victories during the year. Our bete noir for 27 seasons, the AFL Footie Show died a tired misogynist death and hopefully the dreadful Sam Newman has left our airwaves. Secondly the awful ‘Wicked Campers’ bunch (rental vans with supposedly hilarious sexist slogans painted on them) was banned from Victorian roads by the Andrews Government. Yayyy
We raised $3000 for Djirra, the Aboriginal community controlled organisation which auspices the National Forum of Family Violence Prevention and Legal services.
"Now I hope Scott Morrison gets tough here with a few backhanders…She’s a clown, Jacinda Ardern… I just wonder whether Scott Morrison is going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat."
“It’s not in our values to push some people down to lift some people up. That is true of gender equality. We don’t want to see women rise only on the basis of others doing worse.”
Author John Marsden
“Men who feel rage as a result of the failure of their mothers to effectively manage the inevitable eventual separation between mothers and their sons…are highly likely to project that rage onto future intimate partners, and often all women.”
for removing the photo of Tayla Harris kicking the football rather than moderating the trolls commenting on the thread.
Police Officer Neil Punchard
For giving a woman’s details to her violent former husband, texting “just tell her you know where she lives and leave it at that. Lol. She will flip.”
John Setka, CFMEU Secretary
for telling the CFMEU executive that the work of Rosie Batty had led to men having fewer rights.
“Feminism…It’s all about rules and regulations to advantage women at the expense of men. Constant male bashing. False accusations of violence being used to destroy men’s lives. Women denying men access to their children. There are endless rules in our society now which are about demonising men.”
Rev Simon Hansford and Assistant Police Commissioner Luke Cornelius
Rev Simon Hansford, Head of the Uniting Church in NSW, said while “the sacredness of life” must be respected, “Christians are called to respond to life with compassion and generosity. Abortion is a health and social issue and should not be a criminal issue.”
Victorian Assistant Police Commissioner Luke Cornelius after the murder of another woman in a public place – “The key point is that this is about men’s behaviour, it’s not about women’s behaviour.”
50 Years of Student Revolution
Fifty years since 1968, the year of student revolt
The theme was fifty years of student revolution from 1968 to 2018 and we encouraged the Ernies gals to dress along the theme of Angela Davis, the 1960s black power icon from 1968 to Emma Gonzales, the young student from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High who led the anti-guns march on Washington earlier in the year.
Costumes tended to be from the 1968 end of the spectrum with lots of hippie headbands and moratorium badges. A standout was Wendy McMurdo who wore the original ‘Make Love Not War’ t-shirt worn by her sister on the front page of all the papers in the sixties.
At least we managed a complete Pussy Riot act late in the evening.
The raffle money was collected to go to the students from the anti-guns march but when we tried to send $3000 to a group called “Keep Guns off Campus” we were prevented by the bank because of their anti-terrorist filter. The algorithm had clicked in over the mention of ‘guns’ in the title. True.
Margaret Jones, the great feminist icon and mentor to many was awarded the ‘Queen of the Ernies’ trophy. This trophy will now be awarded each year to the Ernies gal who nominates the most winners.
for sacking a female employee, Angela Williamson, after she campaigned for abortion reform on social media.
referring to his daughters during the Equal Marriage campaign, “We know that the best protection for those girls is that they get themselves into a secure relationship with a loving husband, and I want that to happen.”
“February 11: International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Frankly, wasn’t it better when they used rabbits.”
who used his self-diagnosed Asperger’s syndrome to excuse sexual harassment charges against him.
Coopers Hotel Newtown and Sky News The Outsiders Program
Coopers Hotel Newtown for posting on social media "Keep calm and slap a bitch as we approach the finals of this year’s NRL!"
Sky News The Outsiders program - After criticism of the sexist attack on Sarah Hanson-Young, they sacked the junior woman producer who wrote the strapline, the only woman working on the show.
Minister Michaelia Cash
“If you want to start discussing staff matters, be very, very careful. Because I’m happy to sit here and name every young woman in Mr Shorten’s office over which rumours in this place abound. ”
Former Sydney Swans player, Brandon Jack
“The following statement is true: rape culture is real. If you roll your eyes at these words, dismissing the idea as an overreaction by hypersensitive feminists, then you are part of the problem. This is something we can no longer hide from – so please, don’t weep for your toxic masculinity.”
Tony Abbott (again)
25 Years of ‘The Ernies’
The night celebrated an auspicious anniversary – 25 years of ‘The Ernies’. Who would have thought!
The theme was Wonder Women, a nod to a year of fabulous female movie and TV roles – from super heroes and NASA scientists to Doctor Who.
Women arrived in their invisible jets armed with kick arse boots and PhDs.
There was a whole table of ‘Merediths’ and somewhat disturbingly, a table of Handmaids, and a beautifully kitted-out team of Matildas. The eventual winners of the Frock-off were two impeccable Dame Roma Mitchells in full bottom wigs (and perhaps otherwise full).
In a moment of supreme serendipity, the Member for Port Stephens, Kate Washington, collected the Gold Ernie on behalf of her nemesis, former Port Stephens Mayor, Bruce McKenzie for naming a Refuge after himself although convicted of domestic violence. Kate was thrilled! Bruce wasn’t and was quoted the following day in the Newcastle Herald saying, “the women who get together to get drunk at Parliament House can get stuffed”.
who pleaded guilty to assaulting his partner but wanted a domestic violence shelter to be named after himself.
who, when women complained that their Ford Focus repeatedly lost power without warning, dismissed their complaints as being an issue with “their driving style”.
Victorian Judge Christopher Ryan
for referring to a 14 year old sexual assault victim as “nubile” and “worldly”.
remarking on a Human Rights Commission Report which found that 51% of students were sexually harassed last year “Yes, we should be shocked and visibly upset…that the Commission perpetrated such a hoax. We should be shocked and upset that not one university boss had the guts to call out this fraud of a study”.
Port Stephens Mayor Bruce McKenzie
who pleaded guilty to assaulting his partner but wanted a domestic violence shelter to be named after himself.
Dale Simmons, President of the Cervantes Tiger Sharks Football Club in WA
called AFL umpire Eleni Gloutfsis, “a dopey mole” and “a stupid bitch” and that she would change her mind on umpiring decisions because she was a woman.
Keysar Trad, Muslim community leader
for saying “using violence against women is a last resort for men, step three after counselling, buying her chocolates or taking her out to dinner”.
Louise Roberts, columnist
for saying, “If I’m getting paid less than a man for doing the same job, its not his fault. It is mine, through life choices I have made for myself”.
The Australian Cricketers’ Association
for holding out to win the women cricketers a massive pay increase.
The Girls Always Shine at the Olympics
The dinner celebrated 60 years since the 1956 Olympics and the theme was ‘Golden Girls’ where we fittingly remembered our heroines such as Betty Cuthbert. The gals decided to come as sporting stars or just themselves decked out in gold lame as usual (and weird hats).
The “Frock off” was won by a perfectly kitted out women’s cricket team…so well disguised that we didn’t recognize close friends. There were also plenty of synchronized swimmers and women footballers. One silly woman (no names) read the invitation wrong and came as Don Bradman.
The early favourite for the Gold was NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay who told a female MP “Building a road is not like buying a handbag, Eleni” but the Gold Ernie eventually went to the lawyer for a taxi driver charged with sexual assault who said “The attack would not have happened if the woman had sat in the backseat”.
Barrister Ben Mallick (Judicial Silver Ernie) for defending a taxi driver charged with sexual assault, “the attack would not have happened if the woman had sat in the back seat”.
NSW Department of Education (Industrial Silver Ernie) for proposing that experienced School teachers who take 5 years off to have children be downgraded to beginner teacher salary when they return to work.
Remarking on the Constitutional Recognition documentary with Linda Burney, “it was tricky because she is gorgeous and she’s a woman and it’s very difficult for a white male to debate an Aboriginal woman and not be seen as a bully or mean.”
“By attacking poverty rather than attacking men you’ll get a far better solution than the nonsense we’re hearing from Rosie Batty and the other left feminists”.
When discussing paying to have sports journalist Caroline Wilson ducked in cold water “I’ll put in ten grand straight away – make it twenty – and if she stays under the water, fifty.”
For writing a song in gaol called Gutter Girls, “Sleeping in the daytime, lying every night. She’s scheming, screaming bloody rape and she’s got you in her sight.”
Bernard Keane and Byron Shire Council
Bernard Keane commenting on Pauline Hanson’s Inaugural Speech, “I can’t recall a more sickening, more evil statement from a politician than this attempt to explain away the murder of women by ex-partners as frustration due to frivolous claims by women.
Byron Shire Council for banning sexist graffitied Wicked Campers from the Council caravan parks.
In her inaugural speech, referring to the family court system “women make frivolous claims and believe they have the sole right to the children… until we treat mums and dads with the same courtesy and rights, we will continue to see murders due to sheer frustration and depression and mental illness caused by this unworkable system.”
Favourite women leaders
Paying Tribute to our first female Premier, Joan Kirner
It was 25 years since Joan Kirner was elected as Australia’s first female Premier and many women on the night paid tribute to Joan by donning polka-dot outfits. There were also many well presented Hillarys and Julias but Linda Burney stole the show as Cammeraygal leader, Barangaroo.
There was some short-lived concern that the Ernies would suffer a dearth of nominations with the ousting of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. However, the Australian Football Federation romped it in to win the Gold Ernie for not fairly paying the Matildas. We are reliably informed that the Matildas were thrilled with the result. And AFL player, Luke Ablett, who was following the proceedings on twitter was also chuffed to win the Good Ernie.
for paying the Matildas only $21,000 pa and for refusing to pay them maternity leave.
Australian Obituary Page
for beginning their obituary on Colleen McCullough – “Plain of feature and certainly over-weight…”
when asked to nominate his greatest achievement as Minister for Women replied “repealing the carbon tax.”
the week after a notorious sexual assault, produced an ad which depicted a scantily-clad young woman who appears to be passed out on the ground with her legs slightly spread and her fingers gesturing a peace sign.
Detective Inspector Michael Hughes
speaking after a murder, said while the attack was “chilling”, women needed to take precautions not to be randomly attacked including never being in a public park by themselves.
Rev Fred Nile MP (tied)
for referring to childcare centres as “day orphanages.”
School Principal Omar Hallak (tied)
who reportedly banned female students from participating in running events because it may cause them to lose their virginity.
“Feminism is now well past its use-by date. It has just become an excuse for unhinged individuals with Daddy issues to indulge a mean streak.”
“Another woman killed by a man and we are talking about why women shouldn’t walk in parks. What is wrong Australia?”
Mark Latham and Tony Abbott
First in the world to win suffrage
We celebrated 120 years since women in South Australian were the first in the world to win the right to stand for Parliament. Guests dressed as suffragettes honouring those who had fought for our right to vote.
Even though Julia Gillard had been out of public office for some time, she still evoked huge hostility from other politicians and some sections of the media – from Clive Palmer “I couldn’t throttle her (Gillard), so I had to get to Parliament to get rid of that woman” to John Howard’s “I think it (the misogyny speech) is the worst possible way of promoting a greater involvement by women in public life.”
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.”"
“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.”
Philip Strickland SC
for suggesting that former MP Jodie McKay’s recall of a conversation might not be accurate because she was in “an emotional state”.
Wicked Camper Vans
for slogans on their vans:
“Fat girls are harder to kidnap.”
“In every princess, there’s a little slut who wants to try it just once.”
“Life sucks if your girlfriend doesn’t.”
South Coast Winter Swimming Association
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.”
“That member affiliation of the South Coast Winter Swimming Association is limited to males.”
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.
Michaela Cash, Minister assisting the PM on Women (tied)
“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”
Miranda Devine (tied)
“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.”
Mark Lennon, Secretary of Unions NSW
for giving female staff 2% more superannuation than men, to acknowledge the structural issues that lead to women having one third of the super savings of men when they retire.
The Ernies come of age
To celebrate the Ernies coming of age, women dressed as they did for their own 21st.
Our Parliamentary host, Linda Burney wore a onesie Sandra Dee would be proud of. One guest came as 8 months pregnant. There were perms a-plenty, the occasional kaftan and fishnets, as always, made an appearance.
Many categories featured dramatic boo-offs in one of the worst years ever for misogyny in Australia. The sheer vitriol of comments directed towards Julie Gillard shocked guests and Mal Brough was a worthy winner for his offensive fundraiser menu. Anna Bligh, assisted by Marty Belch (aka Yvette Andrews), presented the Gold Ernie to Wesley College students for distributing stubby holders bearing the words “It’s not rape if it’s my birthday.” Unsurprisingly, Tony Abbott won the Clinton for Repeat Offenders.
Not only has the Ernies come of age, out-surviving many serious awards, it is now broadly acknowledged in the top ten weirdest awards world-wide. And with a whole new following online, the Ernies look likely to continue for many years to come.
distributing stubby holders bearing the words
"“It’s not rape if it’s my birthday.”"
for the Liberal Party dinner menu featuring ”Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – Small Breasts, Huge Thighs and a Big Red Box”
“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.”
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.”
team mate Stephen Milne who was charged with 4 counts of rape, should be allowed to continue playing because “Milney is the absolute heart and soul of the football club.”
“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."
Wesley College students
for distributing stubby holders bearing the words “It’s not rape if it’s my birthday.”
“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.”
Lt General David Morrison
“On all operations, female soldiers and officers have proven themselves worthy of the best traditions of the Australian Army. They are vital to us maintaining our capability now and into the future. If that does not suit you, then get out.”
Tony Abbott PM
Come as your favourite Ernies winner
Celebrating 20 years of the Ernies
The ‘Twenty years of Ernies Awards’ dinner was a huge milestone. Most serious awards don’t last that long but the ‘Ernies’ just keeps getting stronger. The dress code was ‘Come as your favourite Ernies winner’ which proved a bit of a hit. There were plenty of Shane Warnes, Tony Abbotts (yes in budgie smugglers), Bob Ellises, Bill Heffernans and generic rugby league players. For those women who could not control their urge to get into fishnet tights once again, they came as Liz Hurley (to go with Shane Warne) or Miranda Devine.
Lobbying for favoured sexists was intense. Three tables of gals from ‘Destroy the Joint’ created such an uproar when they thought Alan (women are destroying the joint) Jones would be pipped at the post by Barry O’Farrell (called our host Linda Burney a hooker…mmm bit of a pattern emerging there), that the boo-monitors felt intimidated and we almost had to call for a recount.
"Women are destroying the joint, Christine Nixon in Melbourne, Clover Moore here. Honestly. There’s no chaff bag big enough for these people"
David Farley, CEO Australian Agricultural Company
when demonstrating a machine in the abattoir said - ’So it’s designed for non-productive old cows. Julia Gillard’s got to watch out.'
said about Linda Burney - ’I am not sure which other member could be the hooker, perhaps the Member for Canterbury.’
Family Voice Australia
argued against changes 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.’
Senior Constable Cary Coolican
‘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.’
for flying the women’s Olympic basketball team to London economy class, and the male team business class.
‘Women are destroying the joint, Christine Nixon in Melbourne, Clover Moore here. Honestly. There’s no chaff bag big enough for these people.’
Kelly O’Dywer MP
for calling Tanya Plibersek, Nicola Roxon and Deborah O’Neil – ’the handbag hit squad.’
MInister Stephen Smith
said in reference to ongoing issues in the Defence Force – ‘inappropriate conduct will not be tolerated.’
Archbishop Peter Jensen
from Little Patti to Lady Gaga
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Female Eunuch
The Nineteenth Annual Ernies dinner was a visual feast with Lady Gagas mixing it with Dolly Partons, Janis Joplins, Nancy Sinatras and a few Spice Girls. A solitary Nana Mouskouri was a standout. The frock-off was judged by Little Patti herself who awarded it to our own diva Joan Sutherland (aka Patricia O’Brien).
At the business end, the Gold Ernie was won by Andrew Bolt after an enthusiastic “boo-off”against Tony Abbott for his famous photo shoot in front of “Ditch the Witch” and “Bob Brown’s Bitch” signs.
We won the ultimate stamp of extreme gravitas when the winner of the Gold Ernie was announced on the 7pm ABC Television News. It was a pity that the MC was pictured wearing a turquoise wig and two chops around her neck during the winning announcement.
"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? "
for standing in front of the placards describing the Prime Minister as 'Bob Brown's Bitch' and 'Ditch the Witch.'
The Australian Defence Force Academy
for charging on an unrelated matter, the woman who was filmed without her knowledge in the Skype sex scandal.
Clayton Utz partner, Darryl McDonough
on why there were only 20% women partners, 'Certainly they are all females but each of them are extremely competent lawyers.'
'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!
Dr Barry Walters
'older mothers are selfish, self-centred and burden their children later in life with geriatric parents.'
for attacking the community workers equal pay case, saying they 'failed to make their case' and referred to the 'so-called' wage gap'.
Public Sector Association / Simon Benson (a tie)
The PSA for their campaign for domestic violence leave / Simon Benson for standing up for Julia Gillard's style sense.
50 years of the pill - Dress Liberated
Celebrating 50 years of the pill
The theme of the night chose itself and women turned up in “love-child hippie mode” and once again in the inevitable fishnets.
As it was an election year it was fitting that Tony Abbott received eight separate nominations for such shockers as “…what the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing…” However he was pipped for the Gold Ernie by St Paul’s College students who set up a ‘Define Statutory’ Facebook page which described itself as ‘pro-rape, anti-consent’.
As it was forty years since The Female Eunuch was published Louis Nowra received extra loud boos for his description of Germaine Greer as “a befuddled and exhausted old woman. She reminded me of my demented grandmother”.
who set up the 'Define Statutory' Facebook page which described itself as
Hairy Legged Hippie
Celebrating 40 years since the 1969 Equal Pay decision and Woodstock
Somehow fishnet tights still happened for the hippie theme.
Kyle Sandilands was the most despised nominee of the night but he was pipped at the post for the Gold by Pastor Danny Nalliah who proclaimed that Victoria’s bushfires were punishment for the State’s lenient abortion laws.
The Good Ernie went to NRL chief David Gallop for saying the league was embarrassed to be linked with sexual assault, violence and alcoholism.
Claimed Victoria's bush fires were caused by its abortion laws
"God's conditional protection has been removed from the nation of Australia, in particular Victoria, for approving the slaughter of innocent children in the womb."
Danny Lim, Strathfield Councillor
who recommended that Council buy a vibrator for (Minister) Virginia Judge so that she would “stop screwing with the people of Strathfield and screw herself instead”.
for his response to the teenage rape victim “right...is that the only experience you’ve had?” and his comment that Magda Szubanski “was not skinny enough” and “she could lose more weight in a concentration camp
for making an employee work overtime for every minute she spent expressing breastmilk for her child.
Judge David Smith
“I suggest that this is a technical rape...I would put this offence at the lower end of the scale. To mark this man with the grave offence of rape for the rest of his days will stop him travelling to some countries and prevent him getting jobs”.
Simon Williams, Newcastle Knights player
on the Matthew Johns affair - “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’.”
“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”.
David Gallop, NRL CEO
for saying that the league was embarrassed to be linked with sexual assault, violence and alcoholism; for pleading with Manly not to play Brett Stewart after his sexual assault allegations; for ordering Cronulla to sack CEO Tony Zappia after his ‘Spank Me’ incident.
Bad maternity fashions from the past
Celebrating 20 years of the National Pay Equity Coalition and PAID MATERNITY LEAVE!
Puffed sleeves and giant floppy bows proliferated as bad maternity frocks hit the Strangers Dining Room at Parliament. The dinner also commemorated 20 years of the National Pay Equity Coalition who were the original sponsors of the Ernies.
The Mayor of Mt Isa, Councillor John Molony won the Gold for his extraordinary invitation to “ugly women” to come to Mt Isa where men were so desperate they would be able to find a husband although there was strong support for Bob Ellis who wrote of Hilary Clinton “She is a stranger to consistency, sincerity and (at a guess) oral sex”.
Invited ugly women to come to Mt Isa to find a husband
"Beauty disadvantaged women should proceed to Mt Isa where... an ugly duckling can transform themselves with love and devotion in marriage to a beautiful swan."
“Women on AFL Boards are just there to placate the bleating majority who are just liars and hypocrites”
Troy Buswell MP, W.A Treasurer (tied)
For snapping the bra of a Labor staffer and sniffing the chair of a Liberal staffer after she finished talking to a constituent
Professor Mark Wooden, University of Melbourne
“It (the pay equity gap) has got a lot to do with the fact that women are not prepared to work longer hours”
Roland Day, NSW Solicitor
Said of a 13 year old rape victim “Never at any stage did this witness show upset, exhaustion or stress. In fact, in my respectful opinion, there was a level of enjoyment at the attention.”
Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney (tied)
“The consecration of women bishops is against biblical teaching”
Rev Mark Driscoll (tied)
“Pastors sometimes strayed because their wives had let themselves go”
John Westacott, Producer Channel Nine
“Sheilas do health and consumer stories...You want your blokes, your main guns, doing the real news stories”
Sophie Mirabella MP
Pointed at Julia Gillard and said “You won’t need his (Kevin Rudd’s) taxpayer- funded nanny will you?
Brendan Cannon, Wallaby Rugby Union Player
“I don’t want my daughter growing up in a country where almost half of all women will be victims of physical violence or sexual abuse during their lifetimes”
Tony Abbott MP
1000 Terrible Things Australian Men Have Said About Women
Celebrating the launch of the Ernies Book
2007 was different to other years as the dinner took a break and was replaced by the launch of the Ernies Book. This was a shorter but equally raucous affair and men were invited for the first time. They tended to stand at the back of the room and clap nervously as the winners were proclaimed.
Senator Bill Heffernan with his “deliberately barren” remarks about Julia Gillard won the Gold but he was pushed hard by Sheikh Taj el-Dene Elhilaly with his “uncovered meat” comment.
Senator Heffernan phoned us the next morning demanding to know what was wrong with his statement. “I’m a farmer” he told us “I know about bulls and cows and rams and ewes”.
Repeated his statement that Julia Gillard was not qualified to lead the country because she was -
It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings - dress opera diva
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
And also thirty years since early Ernie contender and baseball writer Dan Cook coined the phrase, “The opera ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.” Dress theme was ‘Opera Diva’ so the place was alive with Valkyrie horns and flaxen plaits.
Our nomination of honorary Australian Tom Cruise for his “I’ve got Katie tucked away” comment was reported around the world including on Fox News America which trumpeted,“Four hundred of Australia’s most powerful women have just voted Tom Cruise not the sexiest but the most sexist celebrity in the world”.
When Gough Whitlam got awarded the Good Ernie for his comments about the RU486 debate, guest presenter Little Patti burst into an impromptu rendition of “It’s Time”. It was marvellous.
Advertised cruises with the slogans
"More Girls. More Sun. More Fun. There's nothing else a guy needs to know!... Seamen Wanted!"
P & O Cruises
Advertised cruises with the slogans: "More Girls. More Sun. More Fun. There's nothing else a guy needs to know!... Seamen Wanted!"
Senator Bill Heffernan
On Labor MP Julia Gillard: "Anyone who chooses to deliberately remain barren... they've got no idea what life's about. We've got a few on our side as well."
On the space shuttle Discovery, which was commanded by a a woman: "The other woman among the crew of seven was an engineer, but NASA ensured there was a male engineer on board in case things went wrong."
Said ABC TV commentator Anne Sargeant was: "old and detrimental to the game."
I've got Katie tucked away so no one will get to us until my child is born... her life from now on is going to be about being a mother - I'm not giving her the chance to turn into another Nicole.
Tony Abbott MP
Danna Vale MP
We are at risk of being overwhelmed by Muslins bearing large families while we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence.
Rt Hon. Gough Whitlam
One of the great things about the federal parliament now is that I think there is about a third of them women. You saw the benefit of that in the vote on the RU486.
Bling...we know you’ve got it so we expect you to wear it!
Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of International Women’s Year and the 30th Anniversary of No-fault divorce
As bling was the theme, fishnets were inevitable and ubiquitous.
Sheikh Feiz Mohammad won the Gold Ernie for saying that victims of rape had no-one to blame but themselves and on a similar theme Colleen McCullough won the Elaine for her extraordinary defence of the Pitcairn Island rapists.
Once again we had to eliminate a ripper international quote with Jude (it’s Sienna’s fault I cheated) Law continuing the wonderful tradition of blaming everything on women.
"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 jeans... to tease man and appeal to his carnal nature."
Tara Anglican Girls School
Team Bonding...dress inappropriate
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Federal Sex Discrimination Act and 100 years (& 13 days) since women first cast their vote in a NSW State Election
The theme of ‘team bonding’ arose out of the outrageous events surrounding the NRL team bonding sessions. When league players attended the police station to be questioned they wore thongs and stubbies, hence the the “dress inappropriate” theme. We expected Willie Mason wigs (we got them) and one disgusting Reg Reagan.
The Gold winner was a League chief who said “Let’s believe nothing happened in Coffs Harbour”. In contrast, the Good Ernie was won by Adam Goodes for saying his mother was his inspiration and taking her to the Brownlow Medal dinner. We love men who are nice to their mums.
For an advertisement showing yobbo football fans with a sign saying
"Boys, if you win you can have our sisters."
Told female staff at the Bondi Junction office to lose weight if they wanted to attend the opening of the new post office.
John Howard PM
Vetoed the $20 million campaign against domestic violence because it was too "anti-male".
The crude abuse coming from many of the ageing feminists and their ideological children who have for years repeated the tired old stuff about women having the sole rights over their own bodies...merely show that they have devoted no serious thought to the issues since the 1970s.
Barrister Paul Reynolds
To a client's breasts: "Just let me feel those puppies then, they're beautiful."
On allegations that Bulldogs players raped a women in Coffs Harbour. "Let's believe nothing happened in Coffs Harbour."
Boys, if you win you can have our sisters.
Tony Abbott MP
Abortion in Australia has been reduced to a question of the mother's convenience.
Jackie Kelly MP
No one in my electorate is interested in a university education. Penrith is pram city.
Said his mum was his inspiration and took her to the Brownlow dinner.
Wimbledon Best (or something Damir Dokic would disapprove of)
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Australia ratifying the UN Convention on all forms of discrimination against women
This year we had heaps to celebrate. It was 20 years since the First NSW woman was elected to Federal Parliament (and she was there in the audience), 20 years since Australia ratified the UN Convention on all forms of Discrimination Against Women and of course the historic victory of feminist icon Billie-Jean King over misogynist Bobby Riggs on the tennis court…hence “Give them a serve”.
The ‘frock-off’ was judged by Jeannette McHugh, the woman whose election 20 years before we were celebrating. Ernie try-hard Jeff Corbett from the Newcastle Herald wrote “there will be 400 pairs of hairy legs and tufty armpits booing over dinner, not to mention some very blubbery midriffs…”
Docked the pay of a pregnant woman because she took too many toilet breaks.
Green, White and Violet, the secret code of the Suffragettes
Celebrating 100 years since the first time women voted in NSW
The dress code of green, white and violet, the secret code for ‘give women the vote’ predominated.
A new trophy was added for the burgeoning ‘Clerical’ category and this was called “The Fred”. The inaugural award went to Archbishop Pell, who also took out the Gold Ernie for “Abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people”.
We were reported extensively in the ‘Malaysian Star’ and once again the BBC wanted to know “What is it that makes Australian men say these things”.
Mark Latham rang from Germany to find out what he had been nominated for. We were certainly keeping them nervous.
"Abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people."
Damned Whores and God’s Police
Celebrating thirty years since the publication of ‘Damned Whores and
With a theme like that, nun’s habits and feather boas proliferated at the frock-off which was judged by the author herself, Anne Summers. The eventual winners were the ‘Marrickville Methodist Ladies’ Club’ in suitably temperance garb.
Style Consultant Mark Patrick streaked the field in the Media Category with (one of our all time favourites) …”sleeveless is a bad look, especially for women over thirty”. The guest presenter Judy Nunn stripped to her black bra and posed, Charles Atlas style, saying “I’m 56 and I think the man’s a dickhead”.
John Howard won the Gold in a rare boo-back (change from the original winner who denied the quote) with the prophetic words that “there was no appropriate woman to be Governor General”. Quentin Bryce was amongst the guests at the dinner.
"There is no appropriate woman for the position of Governor-General."
Feathers and Fur (faux for the faint-hearted)
Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of International Women’s Day
The 8th Ernie Awards took place amid much media speculation about how we would deal with the fact that the original Ernie had just died. David Penberthy pointed the finger at us: “Mr Ecob may well have had the last laugh. He has left Sydney’s feminists in the tasteless position of holding an event poking fun at him just twenty-four hours after his funeral.”
In the Olympic year it was totally appropriate that the Gold Ernie was won by Cathy Freeman’s manager Nick Bideau for saying, “I never turned away from Cathy, no matter how fat she was…” It was also the year that a new trophy ‘The Warney’ (a gold plated mobile phone) was added to accommodate the huge number of appalling comments by sporting stars.
On 2 October we made it as a clue in the Sydney Morning Herald Crossword. ..‘Dingo could get an award’. The answer of course was ‘Ernie’.
"I never turned away from Cathy... no matter how fat she was in 1997, or even in 1998."
Pearls before Swine
Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the 1969 Equal Pay Decision
Because 30th anniversaries are celebrated with pearls the theme for the night chose itself. The dress code was ‘posh frock and pearls’ which revealed a previously unknown fetish among Australia’s feminists. The best display was from Eva Cox and Virginia Spate who looked like old fashioned burlesque queens in ropes and ropes of pearls. They easily won the frock-off judged by fashion icon Maggie Alderson.
Popular nominations were David Oldfield, Piers Akerman and Alan Jones but a little known and anonymous magistrate won the gold for yet another put down of a rape victim.
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."
We should be armed
Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the National Pay Equity Coalition, the official host of the Ernies
The occasion was again packed. The style police allowed anything, except for some reason, yellow jumpers or platform sneakers. The quote for the night was from British feminist Edna O’Brien who said, “The vote means nothing to women. We should be armed.”
A new award for repeat offenders was added. It was called “The Clinton” for obvious reasons, and John Howard won for failing to appoint a Sex Discrimination Commissioner for 12 months and refusing to recognise the term “Chairperson”.
One of the waiters introduced himself to us as Pauline Hanson’s boyfriend and behaved in a most disgustingly sexist manner. He was, of course, comic Godfrey Bigot. But some women didn’t get the joke and kept complaining about the drunk waiter with his shirt sticking out his fly.
1998 was the year that lobbying began in earnest. Conversations were overheard out on the smoking balcony – “Well, we’ll vote for Bettina in the Elaines if you support Piers in the other.” The voting (or rather booing) was particularly heated.
Ernie Page MP won the Good Ernie for sacking sexist Maitland Council. He said he had “greater motivation” because he wanted to show that “even Ernies can be SNAGs.”
Gave a two year suspended sentence to a man for sexually abusing his twelve-year-old stepdaughter and said
"Indulgence is a pleasurable, curiosity-satisfying activity by an intelligent precocious girl."
The birth of the Frock-off
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Anti Discrimination Act
1997 was the first time we held the awards ceremony as a dinner. It was a jolly night, enjoyed by many newcomers including an entire table from Beecroft Rotary Club. Although we now had space for 400, we still had problems fitting everyone in.
The invitation declared that “the judges’ decision is obviously not final as much disputation occurs” and this was certainly the case in 1997. It was also the year that heralded the first of the “frock-offs”. A high standard was set with Justice Lee Drake taking out the poshest frock award.
There were a record eighty nominations and once again those nominated displayed some anxiety. Nick Whitlam wrote to us, “I see from today’s SMH that I am a candidate for an Ernie tonight. Although I realise it will not disqualify me and will only marginally diminish the likelihood of me receiving an award, you should know that the correct quote is…….”
The ‘Gold Ernie’ win by Olympics Minister Michael Knight made it clear that any statement which implies that the reason women don’t get positions is because they’re decided on “merit, not sex” is particularly galling to women.
On why there were no women on the SOCOG board said
"Appointments are made on merit not sex."