The Ernie Awards For Sexism In 2021 Have Been Announced And Congrats To ScoMo

It's been a big year for shitty comments.

ernie awards

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The winners of the 29th Annual Ernie Awards have been announced and boy, it has been a very big year for sexism.

— Content Warning: This article contains discussion of sexual assault. — 

For those unfamiliar, the Ernie Awards for Sexist Remarks are a wonderful annual event in which 300 women come together at New South Wales’ Parliament House to judge the most misogynistic remarks made in the last year. And there were a lot of them in 2021.

This year’s Golden Ernie — AKA the highest honour awarded to sexist people in Australia — was given to Senator Eric Abetz, for comments he allegedly made to the speaker of the Tasmanian parliament, Sue Hickey.

According to Hickey, when asked if Christian Porter was the unidentified minister who was accused of a historical rape, Abetz allegedly replied: “yes …but not to worry, the woman is dead and the law will protect him…as for that Higgins girl, anybody so disgustingly drunk who would sleep with anybody…she could have slept with one of our spies and put the security of the nation at risk.”

Abetz has denied he made the comments.

“Senator Abetz is an outstanding winner, having ‘podiumed’ on previous occasions,” Ernies founder Dr Meredith Burgmann said of the win. “He is almost certainly on his last lap as he has been relegated to an almost unwinnable spot on the Tassie senate ticket. In excellent form though, the Senator has blamed his relegation on sexism and ageism.”

But Abetz isn’t the only man — nor the only man in Australian politics — awarded with an Ernie on Tuesday night. Let’s go through the list, shall we?

Industrial Silver Ernie

Chief of Defence General Angus Campbell was awarded the Industrial Silver Ernie for telling incoming female members of the Australian Defence Force cadets they should be aware of the “four As: alcohol, out after midnight, alone, and attractive” to avoid being targeted by sexual predators.

Media Silver Ernie

The Silver Media Ernie was awarded to SA radio host Jeremy Cordeaux who made the following comments after Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations surfaced:  “I just ask myself why the Prime Minister doesn’t call it out for what it is — a silly little girl who got drunk”.

Judicial Silver Ernie

Judge Robert Sutherland of the NSW District Court was awarded the Judicial Silver Ernie for wishing Nicholas Drummond “good luck” after he hit a young woman after telling her to “put her tits away”.

“[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,” said Sutherland.

The Warney

The Warney — AKA the sports Ernie — was awarded to Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart for the following comment: “If I can’t have tough conversations with my better players, I might as well coach netball”.

Political Silver Ernie

The Political Silver Ernie was a dead heat between Abetz’ gold-winning comments and Prime Minister Scott Morrison for having to ask his wife, Jenny to contextualise Brittany Higgins’ rape allegation for him.

“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.”

Clerical/Celebrity Ernie

There was another tie in the celebrity/clerical category between Professor Magnus Nyden, Dean of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University and the entirety of St Luke’s Grammar School.

Nyden claimed there shouldn’t be more women in sciences because “a woman is biologically wired to be more concerned about people, and men about things”.

Meanwhile, St Luke’s asked male students to rank qualities they wished for in a woman, awarding more points for virginity, looks and Christian values than generosity or adventurousness.

The Elaine Ernie

It’s not just men who are awarded Ernies, with the Elaine category reserved for comments “least helpful to the sisterhood”.

This one is also a tie between Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, who called Brittany Higgins a “lying cow” and Liberal Party Vice President Teena McQueen who said she would “kill to be sexually harassed at the moment”.

The Good Ernie

The Good Ernie is reserved for “boys behaving better” — AKA men who have a history of being not-so-good but have been a little bit better. This is another tie between Liberal MP Russell Broadbent and ABC Sports reporter Richard Hinds.

Broadbent told all politicians that they “need to be quiet, listen and learn” when it comes to gender issues in Australian politics.

Meanwhile, Hinds was seemingly the first man in sports to actually acknowledge that women are held to a higher standard than men in leadership positions.

“I’ve no idea whether (Rugby Australia CEO) Raelene Castle was a good CEO or a disaster. I’m 100 percent certain women in power are still held to a much higher account than men,” said Hinds.

The Trump

And last, but certainly not least, we have the Trump award for repeat offending, which was awarded to our Prime Minister Scott Morrison for three comments he made throughout the year.

“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,” Morrison said on the Women’s March4Justice.

“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,” Morrison said after Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations.

And finally, the comments he made to Grace Tame after her Australian of the Year speech. “Well, gee, I bet it felt good to get that out,” he said.