|Issue No. 152
|13 September 2002
The Legacy of 11/9
Interview: Still Flying
International: President Gas
Politics: Australia: A Rogue State?
History: Levelling September
Unions: Welfare Max
Bad Boss: Welcome to Telstra!
Health: Fat Albert: The Grim Reaper
Poetry: A Man From the East And A Man From The West
Review: The Sum Of All Fears
The Locker Room
Week in Review
The CFMEU Race Debate #2
Keeping it Clean
Sue the Leaders?
The Importance of Being Ernie
The Ernies, named after the late Ernie Ecob a former secretary of the AWU, have become a bit of an institution for women in NSW who gather in the Dining Room at Parliament House to boo at the outrageously sexist things that are said or done by men and a few women throughout the previous year.
From a very much smaller start where women from the labour movement gathered to mark the retirement of Ernie Ecob as President of Labor Council the dinner now attracts over 400 women and there are nine categories up for grabs as well as the coveted "Gold Ernie".
The most notable thing about the Ernies in recent years has been the lack of unionists in the nominations. This was actually commented on by the Ernies host and MC Meredith Burgmann who said it showed that unions had cleaned up their act since the days of Ernie Ecob. To emphasise the point the male AMWU members at Carter Holt Harvey won the award for Men Behaving Better (the award formerly known as the Gareth) over their decision to remain on strike until the women employed in the factory office also got a fair collective agreement.
While I do agree with Meredith that things are better in the union movement than they were; as I said last year I think the main reason there are no union nominees is because we haven't nominated anyone. The challenge is still on to uncover the bad behaviour of union blokes and to get them nominated next year (and boys - remember that a rule of the Ernies is that you can't win by trying too hard!)
This Year's Winners
Political - Tony Abbott for his comments that paid maternity leave would be introduced over the Federal Government's dead body and also the comments that a bad boss is like a bad husband or father and that is that they do more good than harm
Sport "The Warney" (some were calling for a renaming to the Wayney after Wayne Carey's efforts) - Ray Hadley for his comments on seeing a photo of Germaine Greer on her 'sixty something' birthday that he bet she regretted burning her bra in the 60s
Industrial - there was a boo-off between Kenneth Hackett from Hackett Lab Services who told the Building Industry Royal Commission that signing a union agreement was like being raped and Dick Warburton the Chair of David Jones who said he had trouble finding women suitably qualified to sit on the DJ's board. Dick won in a very close contest.
Media - Andrew Bolt who on several occasions attacked the right of single women and lesbians to access IVF treatments and criticised the Sex Discrimination Act because it allowed this.
Judicial - the High Court for its decision that lead to reduced damages payable to a widow who" because of her age and circumstances was likely to remarry" and therefore wouldn't need the same level of compensation
Clerical (the "Fred" named after Fred Nile) - Archbishop George Pell for his comments that abortion was a worse crime than child sexual abuse by priests
The "Elaine" for Remarks least helpful to the Sisterhood (named after Elaine Nile) - Bettina Arndt for her recent column suggesting that women couldn't be both mothers and MP's although there was a strong push that she be disqualified for trying too hard
The "Clinton" for Repeat Offenders - Tony Abbott. It should also be noted that John Howard had won this award three years in a row and therefore had achieved hall of fame status and so was ineligible for nomination again.
The "award formerly known as the Gareth" for men behaving better (formerly named after Gareth Evans) - the AMWU members at Carter Holt Harvey who remained on strike until the women in the factory office also got a fair collective agreement.
The Gold Ernie - There was a boo-off between Tony "the mad monk" Abbott and Archbishop George Pell with the boo monitors declaring Pell this year's Gold Ernie winner.
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