Christoper Pyne wins Ernie Award 2014 for his comments on the impact of uni fees on women

Education minister Christopher Pyne Christopher said that increases in uni fees won't disproportionately affect women.

Education minister Christopher Pyne Christopher said that increases in uni fees won't disproportionately affect women.

The Minister for Education Christopher Pyne beat the Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a tight leadership contest at Parliament House last night.

The Prize? Australia’s Top Sexist; and the competition was fierce.

The Ernie Awards, now in its 22nd year, is held each September at NSW Parliament House. Hundreds of loud, proud women (this year, dressed as suffragettes) shout out as part of the judging for the most sexist remarks by public figures during the previous year. It honours the legacy of Ernie Ecob, the unionist who said in 1989, that women only wanted to be shearers for the shags.

Tony Abbott took out the Ernie for 'repeat offender.'

Tony Abbott took out the Ernie for 'repeat offender.' Photo: Andrew Meares

How do you get to be a nominee? Sexist remarks are nominated by women across Australia and the vote is clear, transparent and deafening. No social media campaigning here, the nomination with the loudest and longest boos on the night – as judged by veteran boos monitors - wins the category and the loathing by Australian women everywhere.

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When it came to the vote, that special loathing, long and loud, was reserved for Christopher Pyne, who won the silver Ernie in the political category 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."

Victory in that category catapulted him straight into the running for Gold – and after a battle at the level of silver (against fellow Cabinet Minister Eric Abetz) the Education Minister romped home in the top field. The boos and stomping shook the glasses and cutlery clear off the tables. Hundreds of women were having a lot of fun telling the Federal government exactly what they thought.

Kylie and Jackie O got a gong for their on-air questioning of Sports Journalist, Erin Molan.

Kylie and Jackie O got a gong for their on-air questioning of Sports Journalist, Erin Molan. Photo: Sahlan Hayes

But Pyne was lucky really, because in the year of the gender card, politics was the biggest category by far, revealed Meredith Burgmann, the eternal host of the Ernies and a former Legislative Council President. There were nearly 20 nominations – and astonishingly, not all were Federal Government ministers.  PUP’s Clive Palmer had three all on his own - for constantly calling women journalists ‘my dear’; for suggesting that paid parental leave was to keep the Prime Minister’s chief-of-staff Peta Credlin happy; and for saying: "I couldn't throttle her [Julia Gillard], so I had to get to Parliament to get rid of that woman."  He was joined by loose cannon and former member of the Victorian Liberal Party, MP Geoff Shaw, for rewriting the physiology textbooks by revealing the existence of ‘tummy eggs’; and Labor sexists past and present. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called former Premier Kristina Keneally Bambi. Former wannabe Prime Minister Mark Latham, who can occasionally be funny, scored two nominations from two quotes: "There is no policy oomph from feminist dogma" and "So cheer up, ladies. Even if you're a two-bagger, or worse, the host of the Ernie Awards, you're not without hope in the meat market of life." Tony Burke’s offence was to compare Bronwyn Bishop to Dolores Umbridge.

It was the Federal government ministers which sent the crowd wild: Pyne of course; Eric Abetz for suggesting breast cancer was linked to abortion; and Matthias Cormann on the advancement of women in the Coalition: "We're not going to get distracted by these sorts of, what I would say are side issues."

Mr Pyne was in other very bad company. Other silver winners included Piers Akerman for his vile attacks on our beloved Peppa Pig with her “weird feminist line”; a tedious campervan hire company that paints attention-seeking slogans on its rust buckets; and Kyle and Jackie O for everything really but mainly for asking St Erin Molan whether she’d had a boob job, and whether she’d ever slept with a cricketer. Molan, a talented broadcaster, decided she’d never appear on their program again.

And yes, the Prime Minister was nominated for a record eighth time. What do they say? Always the groomsman, never the groom, although he did manage to score the Clinton for repeat offenders (which sadly does not provide access to the competition for gold, gold, gold). At least one category went to appeal (Industrial, where Wicked beat Libra) – and several went to boo-offs in what was the tightest contest in years, say longtime Ernies goers.

Burgmann said that they used to be able to squeeze 400 into the Strangers Dining Room at Parliament House but these days, it’s limited to 330. It sells out every time but for her, the real measure of success is the number of young women and first timers who come to the Ernies. This time, nearly half the room had never been to an Ernies award; and a team of 20 year olds raced to the stage to claim the status of youngest feminist there. The oldest, by her own claim, was the legendary Margaret Jones, 88, star of Seeing Margaret Jones, the Documentary. She took home half a dozen awards herself – the trophies go to the person who nominates the winners of each category.

So good news for Margaret and good news for Mark Lennon, the Secretary of Unions NSW, who won the sole positive acknowledgement last night, for giving female staff two per cent 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.

And there can never be too many nominations in that category.

Follow Jenna Price on Twitter: @jennaprice

 

THE COMPLETE LIST OF ERNIES 2014

GOLD ERNIE and Political Silver Ernie

Christopher Pyne

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."

Media Silver Ernie

Piers Akerman

"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."

Judicial Silver Ernie

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".

Industrial Silver Ernie

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."

Sport Silver Ernie (The Warney)

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."

Clerical/Celebrity Ernie (The Fred)

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.

The Elaine (for the remark least helpful to the sisterhood)

Dead heat between

Michaelia Cash, Minister assisting the PM on Women

"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

"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."

The Good Ernie

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 Clinton (for repeat offenders)

Tony Abbott

41 comments

  • The winner of The Good Ernie puts all the others into a clear context.

    Commenter
    Bender
    Date and time
    September 25, 2014, 9:12AM
    • A rigged contest Wong Plibersek and the screamer from the double named electorate have already put in a protest against Pyne as they are clearly much more sexist then he is.

      Commenter
      brinken
      Date and time
      September 25, 2014, 1:38PM
    • Yes, yes, yes we all get it. Conservatives and Coalition members are all bad, anti female sexists while Labor/Greens/Union 'progressives' are all good and pro females.

      Commenter
      Jalopy
      Date and time
      September 25, 2014, 2:42PM
  • What a ridiculous and counterproductive "awards" ceremony. Chris Pyne gets a gong for saying that teachers and nurses won't earn as much as lawyers and dentists (duh?), Piers Ackerman collects one for telling the truth about the ABC (admittedly the bit about Peppa Pig is a bit strange) and a Judge picks up a medal for saying someone who is in an emotional state might not have a clear recollection of things? If Michaelia Cash doesn't want to associate with feminism then who can blame her, from what I read yesterday according to Clementine Ford Emma Watson isn't welcome either. Miranda Devine called it how it was and well done for doing so. And last but not least, just to show that the award ceremony isn't about blaming men for everything , there is an award for someone who actively pays women more which I would have thought is against equal pay for equal work but apparently is fine. Well done all!

    Commenter
    Hurrow
    Location
    Hurrowhurrow@yahoo.com.au
    Date and time
    September 25, 2014, 9:42AM
    • In each of the cases you mention, you have missed the main point of the argument. Now, I think that most men are wonderful, intelligent human beings, but not all of them are. I'm not going to wade through the whole passage refuting all of your points, but just on the first one, Pyne. The point is, which you would know if you had been following the whole discussion, is that more women do law and dentistry than men. So his argument falls flat and shows his ignorance of the real situation.

      Commenter
      lola
      Date and time
      September 25, 2014, 12:13PM
    • "Chris Pyne gets a gong for saying that teachers and nurses won't earn as much as lawyers and dentists "

      That's not what he said, but twist his comments whatever way you like, because you've clearly got an agenda here.

      Commenter
      Jace
      Date and time
      September 25, 2014, 12:19PM
    • I'm happy to help you out in a few areas here.

      Pyne was suggesting that women won't become dentists or lawyers, despite the fact that they are actually in the majority in these courses (never mind the central assumption).

      Show me where that judge has said the same thing about a male?

      And Miranda simply lets her politics get in the way of her thinking. Gillard was hounded relentlessly for being the first female PM. It was only when I read about two Libs (allegedly Pyne and Hockey) tailing her throughout parliament house, audibly making comments about her as though they were in kindie, that I began to get the picture.

      Commenter
      Deipnosoph
      Date and time
      September 25, 2014, 12:31PM
    • Hurrow, if we're talking FACTS, then get this one. FACT - women make up a greater proportion of young lawyers than men. Shucks, seems as though they are capable of earning money as lawyers. Who would have thought that now.........

      Plenty of men appearing in court are in an "emotional state" - funny how we never hear judges commentating on their ability to make judgements.

      Piers & Pepper Pig "a bit strange". Com one. That has to be the understatement of the year!

      Commenter
      Cookymonster
      Date and time
      September 25, 2014, 1:13PM
    • No, Hurrow, Pyne did not get an Ernie "for saying that teachers and nurses won't earn as much as lawyers and dentists". He got an Ernie for being such an ignorant sexist moron that he didn't know that there are MORE female law and dentistry graduates than male*!! And this man is Minister for EDUCATION!? Great demonstration of how well you know your portfolio!!

      * 61% of law graduates were in 2010 were women (the figure is likely higher now) according to the Human Rights Commission. According to the Department of Health, 58% of dentistry graduates in 2012 were women.

      Commenter
      The Claw
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      September 25, 2014, 1:14PM
    • Miranda Divine only 'says it how it is' if you already agree with her line of thinking.

      Just using that phrase at all marks us out as people who just take someone else's view, and mark is as genuine fact.

      It ain't fact. It's her opinion.

      Commenter
      cuts both ways
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      September 25, 2014, 1:41PM

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