May 16, 2006 | Graham

Insanity in the RAN – Peter Cabban to Robyn Fahey

One of the most striking aspects of the bastardisation of Lieutenant Commander Robyn Fahey is the attempted use of a medical mis-diagnosis to incarcerate her for sanity.
It’s striking not just because the doctor who made the mis-diagnosis is still practicing, not just because it is an extreme and bizarre way to deal with dissent, but because it also played a part in the notorious Voyager disaster.
As Peter Cabban relates in his book Breaking Ranks Duncan Stevenson, Captain of the Voyager threatened to have him committed. Cabban was second-in-command and convinced of the unfitness of the Stevenson to be in-charge. As a result Cabban resigned five weeks before the collision.
Both stories sound unlikely, except that as the ABC showed last night, Fahy’s misdiagnosis was written down and still exists.
Cabban tells his story like this:

It was, but it was an extreme situation. We were going to sea in a typhoon and seven days later in Subic Bay he had found that during the five days he was incarcerated I had conducted punishment parades and signed them and tried to get them out of the ship as evidence that I had command, and he in the meantime had got all the officers to support him except David Martin and was going to have me certified and transported home unconscious in a straight jacket and my mind destroyed by ECT (Electro-Convulsive Therapy).

Corruption has long been a feature of the Australian Navy. It’s a pity that Fahy is distancing herself from the calls of the Opposition for a Royal Commission. To raise the issue as she did last night on the 7.30 Report, and then to step back and take a negotiated settlement, would surely be a pointless conclusion to what to date appears to have been a determined quest to assert not just her own rights, but those of other women who want to be naval officers.

Posted by Graham at 2:23 pm | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. don’t swear!!! their ARE young people that read this. even if you were using it in a different form. or context, whatever.

    Comment by sophs — May 16, 2006 @ 4:36 pm

  2. “Bastardisation” is actually a technical term and is not swearing at all. You can check it out at Good to know that young people do read this blog!

    Comment by Graham Young — May 16, 2006 @ 4:49 pm

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