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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

  • 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: said 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]

Silver Ernie — Industrial

Silver Ernie — Political

Silver Ernie — Media

Silver Ernie — Judicial

  • 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".[8]
  • 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"[10] (referring to her breasts)[15]
  • 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.[11]
  • 2007: ?
  • 2008: Roland Day

The Warney for Sport

  • 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.[9]
  • 2004: Bulldogs chief executive Malcolm Noad, for saying "Let's believe nothing happened in Coffs Harbour," referring to a allegation of gang rape[10]
  • 2005: Willie Mason
  • 2006: Grant Birse, Netball Australia marketing manager, for saying commentator Anne Sargeant was "old and detrimental" to the game.[11]
  • 2007: ?
  • 2008: Sam Newman for sticking a picture of Caroline Wilson (sports writer from the age newspaper) to a manikin dressed in Lingerie and then making innapropriate remarks while touching the manikin 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.'"[14]
  • 2010: Andrew Johns[7]

The Fred — Clerical, Culinary, Celebrity

  • 2001: Archbishop Jensen
  • 2002: Archbishop George Pell, for saying that abortion was a worse moral scandal than sexual abuse of young people by priests.[13]
  • 2003: Neil Perry
  • 2004: Tooheys, for an ad featuring a sign saying 'boys, if you win you can have our sisters'[16]
  • 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)[11] and Peter West
  • 2007: ?
  • 2008: Archbishop Peter Jensen and the Reverend Mark Driscoll

The Clinton — for repeat offenders

The Elaine — for women

The Good Ernie


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 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, August 12, 2005
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Importance of Being Ernie Workers Online, Labor Council of New South Wales
  5. 5.0 5.1 Sheilas put the mockers on ockers The Observer, November 11, 2007
  6. "Pastor Danny Nalliah wins top gong at Ernie Awards". Herald Sun. 2009-10-01.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 "Abbott stars at sexist awards night". Sydney Morning Herald. 2010-09-17.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Awards for sexist comments Australian Broadcasting Corporation, September 3, 1999
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Damir pips Shane for 'the Warney' Australian Broadcasting Corporation, August 22, 2003
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Tony Winner Bags an Ernie Workers oline, Labor Council of New South Wales, August 20, 2004
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Well-erned awards Sydney Morning Herald, August 25, 2006
  12. Enter the CPSU Ernie Awards and win! Community and Public Sector Union
  13. 13.0 13.1 Pell takes 'Gold Ernie' for abortion, abuse comments Australian Broadcasting Corporation, September 13, 2002
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Nicholls, Sean and Dunn, Emily (2 October 2009). Others didn't have a prayer, Sydney Morning Herald
  15. Barrister suspended after asking for sex The Age, April 26, 2004
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 'Sexist' beer ad takes Gold Ernie gong Australian Broadcasting Corporation, August 20, 2004
  17. A portfolio in a storm of piggery Brisbane Times, November 3, 2007
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