The vindication of Lindy Chamberlain, 32 years after a dingo took her baby, has prompted some soul-searching in Australia.
The ruling by a Darwin coroner had broadcaster Wendy Harmer casting her mind back to a time when Chamberlain was “vilified and ridiculed by her countrymen and women … I know, because I was one of them.”
A stand-up comedian at the time, Harmer was part of a “firestorm of hatred”, in which “all rationality was lost”, she writes at the Australian Hoopla website. “In pursuit of a laugh, I too carried a burning stick.”
But she was far from alone – simply part of a mood fomented by a “sensationally reported” story. “The entire nation stood in judgement of blameless parents.”
I am only one of millions of Australians who owe Michael and Lindy Chamberlain and their family the most abject, grovelling apology … I am truly sorry for the hurt I caused you, your family and friends. I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.
I acknowledge that the horror for your family has been unending. You have always conducted yourselves with the utmost dignity and composure. The very qualities that saw you damned, accused and convicted.
I sincerely hope that today’s verdict helps you find some peace, but I also understand that your journey with grief is something of which I have no comprehension.
“Good on her,” said Chamberlain, when told about Harmer’s piece in an ABC radio interview.
Harmer was not the first media personality to apologise, Chamberlain said. She was the second.