Just hours before his resignation yesterday, the former Speaker, Peter Slipper, unreservedly apologised for a series of text messages he sent to his aide James Ashby.
In a short statement, Mr Slipper noted that: ''In recent days, court proceedings have led to the public release of text messages reported to be between Mr James Ashby and me.''
The release of the messages, tendered as evidence in the Federal Court, have been condemned by both sides of politics as offensive and sexist.
Among the messages, Mr Slipper referred to female genitalia as ''shell-less mussels''.
Following their release, the Coalition tried unsuccessfully to have Mr Slipper sacked from the speakership. The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, argued he had ''failed the character test''.
Mr Slipper was in Canberra yesterday but not in the chamber for the vote.
''It was intended at the time that text messages be private between Mr Ashby and me,'' he said. Nevertheless, Mr Slipper said nothing excused the content of the messages.
''A number of these text messages refer to women and nothing excuses their content … I understand why people, particularly women, would be offended by these statements and I unreservedly apologise for them.''
Mr Slipper's statement made no reference to the motion which narrowly failed, 69 votes to 70, to sack him from the speakership yesterday afternoon.
No Speaker in history has been forced out of the role by a vote of their fellow MPs.
There have been 13 motions of censure or no confidence moved against a Speaker or Acting Speaker in past Federal Parliaments but none has been successful.
Moving against Mr Slipper yesterday, Mr Abbott said the Speaker should ''be removed from office immediately''.
''It's clear that this Speaker is no longer a fit and proper person to uphold the dignity of the Parliament,'' Mr Abbott said.
The first motion of no confidence in a Speaker was moved in 1944 against Sol Rosevear.
But it was defeated, as were the next 12 attempts. The last was in 2002 against Neil Andrew. Tensions boiled over after the Liberal Speaker ruled out of order a question from the opposition concerning the government's plans for Telstra.
In 1949, there was a successful no confidence motion against a deputy speaker on the basis the deputy speaker had ''revealed serious partiality in favour of government members''.
smh.com.au and AAP