Who has been most sexist in COVID times?

The much-celebrated Ernie Awards are presented in Sydney each year for world class sexism and inappropriate speech. The awards were founded 28 years ago by a group of union leaders and supportive members of NSW Parliament, who decided that calling out sexism and sexist remarks might help create change. The IEU (then ITA) was one of those supporting unions.

Ernies founder and organiser Dr Meredith Burgmann said “this year there were 238 nominations in six categories – media, political, judicial, industrial, sport, and clerical/celebrity plus of course The Elaine, for remarks least helpful to the sisterhood, which is often the most hotly contested category. There is also a trophy for boys behaving better, The Good Ernie, and a trophy for habitual offender, The Trump.”

IEU staffer Wendy McMurdo puts forward nominations each year. McMurdo is pictured here (above right) with Dr Burgmann, having this year nominated Jayson Westbury CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, for his statements to the media 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”.

McMurdo also nominated the Council of the Order of Australia for the Celebrity/Clerical Silver Ernie, for actually awarding Bettina Arndt an AM for “significant service to the community as a social commentator, and to gender equity through advocacy for men”.

A Silver Ernie was awarded to Shore School boys for their ‘Triwizard Shorenament’ which challenged students to have sex with a woman over 80kgs; aged over 40; or who is deemed to be a ‘3/10 or lower’.

The Good Ernie (for boys behaving better) went to actor Sam Neill who said, “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.”

The Trump (for repeat offender) went to Mark Latham for his consistent performance throughout 2020.

The Elaine (for remarks least helpful to the sisterhood) was a dead heat, going to Bettina Arndt and Pauline Hanson. Arndt made a public statement on the murder of Hannah Clarke and her children “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’.”

While Hanson, deputy chair of the Family Court Enquiry, stated that women fabricated stories about 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.”

For more information and other awards for 2020 go to www.ernies.com.au

Bronwyn Ridgway
Communications and Media Officer