The Ernie Awards for Sexist remarks have been held annually since 1993 at NSW Parliament House attended by 300-400 women (and the odd brave male).
The Awards have a strange cult following. They have been named in the top 10 weirdest awards worldwide. Each year we are contacted by the BBC who want to do a ‘live cross’ for our fans in the old country.
Some men feel persecuted by us, others feel slighted. However an important Ernies rule is that “You can’t get an Ernie for trying”.
Our motto is “Keep them nervous”.
Owing to this pesky virus the 28th Annual Ernies Awards will not be celebrated with a dinner this year but will take place in a scaled down fashion. We have collected your nominations during the year and compiled a short list. A group of ‘Ernies Elders’ (faceless women all of them) will consider this short list and decide on the ultimate winners. We have always wanted to rort the Ernies and now is our chance. The winners will be announced here and in the media as usual.
There are a number of distinguishing features of the Ernie Awards Dinner . We always begin with an Aboriginal Welcome to Country. This is usually performed early in the proceedings so we can get on with having a good time. Each year we celebrate a significiant anniversary for women such as winning the vote or the granting of “no fault” divorce. We always hold a raffle to raise money for women involved in important struggles…in Timor L’Este, Zimbabwe, or for Aboriginal women’s causes in Redfern.
The two Mistresses of Ceremony, Meredith Burgmann and Yvette Andrews read out the sexist remarks in each category. The judging process is robust and democratic. Nominations are judged by the level of booing and jeering they receive. Experienced Boo Monitors are appointed to determine the most derided remark in each category. This high pressure job is taken very seriously and to ensure the wishes of the crowd are accurately reflected, the Boo Monitors will often call for a boo-off.
Each woman who nominates a man who is a winner in their particular category is presented with one of the tasteful Silver Ernies trophies. The nominator of the ultimate winning quote of that year gets the Gold Ernie trophy. Male winners occasionally ask if they can have the trophy and from time to time we agree.
Despite the jaundiced views of our critics, anyone who wants to come is invited. You get onto the Ernies invitation list simply by asking and you get into the Ernies Awards ceremony by wearing a “nice frock”. This fancy dress aspect is themed to the spirit of the times. In latter years, there has been a fiercely competitive “frock-off” which is judged by a celebrity style critic amidst wild cheering and shameless showing off.
Over the years these moments have been captured by photographers – Sue Tracey, Fiona Katauskas, Moya Dodd, Owen Andrews, Rose Tracey, Justine Muller, Helen Leonard, Cristina Cleveland, Maritsa Zacharakis, Maria Pasten, Shabnam Haneed.