As if being named in the Panama Papers wasn’t bad enough, last night Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull received the award that no Sydney pollie ever wants to get: the Golden GLORIA.

At the GLORIAs (Gay and Lesbian Outrageous, Ridiculous and Ignorant comment Awards) — which mockingly “honour” homophobic and transphobic remarks by public figures — a large, vociferous and well-dressed crowd at New South Wales Parliament House held a “boo-off” to determine the overall winner. By at least 10 decibels, it was won by the PM for “saying nothing” in the Safe Schools debate and “refusing to overturn the unnecessary, inappropriate, wasteful and divisive plebiscite on marriage equality”.

It was a fun night — complete with the obligatory drag queen singing the title song — but for a politician whose own electorate is the pinkest in the country, the collective anger was a sign that pandering to the extremists in his party could rebound at the ballot box.

Organiser Penny Sharpe, a NSW Labor MP, said last night that she started the GLORIAs in 2010 because she was sick of shouting at the television every time someone said something homophobic or transphobic. It is modelled on it’s long-running older sibling, the Ernie Awards for sexism, which has been going for 23 years. Money raised from last night’s event was donated to a Tongan group that distributes books about transgenderism.

MC for the night comic Kirsty Webeck told us that a small child had recently come up to her in a supermarket and said, “You look like a man”. “Can you please tell that to my boss so it’s reflected in my pay,” she snappily retorted, adding that this was probably wasted on a six-year-old.

Anyway, as last year’s awards featured debate around documentary Gayby Baby, the reaction to the Safe Schools program dominated this year.

The Media GLORIA went to 2CH’s evening host Kel Richards who said on radio: “You really are doing something really dangerous and really terrible to those children.” According to him, the Safe Schools program was “an attempt to sexualise and recruit children for the gay and lesbian movement”. He summed it up as “disgusting gay and lesbian propaganda”.

Malcolm won the political category but the winner of the religious category was a shoo-in — who else but Lyle Shelton? The head of the Australian Christian Lobby had multiple nominations but won with his explanation on Sky News for the personal effect of allowing same-sex unions: “If the definition of marriage is changed, it’s no longer assumed … that I’m married to a woman. So that affects me straight away.”

Various Sydney shock-jocks, including the now-retired Ron Casey, have been banned from winning Ernies on the grounds that they are trying too hard; could we not apply that to the hapless Lyle? If he’s not sure if his spouse is female or not, he needs help.

World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao was the winner of the sport category after describing gay couples as “worse than animals”.
“It’s common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex?” Pacquiao told local broadcaster TV5.

In the international division, US politician Marco Rubio won for saying that gay adoption was a “social experiment” and children would be better off orphaned.

Reading the list of previous winners of the GLORIAs was a bit of enjoyable time-travelling. In 2015, curmudgeonly academic Germaine Greer won an award for her views on transgender women: “I didn’t know there was such a thing [as transphobia]. Arachnophobia, yes. Transphobia, no.”

“Just because you lop off your dick and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a fucking woman … I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that doesn’t turn me into a fucking cocker spaniel …”

Cocker spaniels — has she been talking to Cory Bernardi? Incidentally, he was nominated for a GLORIA this year for telling a constituent that the Safe Schools website contained links to “bondage clubs and adult sex toys”. If only.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey