In the tumult of yesterday's resignation of Peter Slipper as Speaker, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott almost lost another MP to the Speaker's chair.
Between the time Mr Slipper announced his resignation at 7.20pm and the Parliament gathered at 9.10pm to vote Labor's Anna Burke as his replacement, the Queensland Liberal National Party MP Alex Somlyay made a bid for a job.
During a division on a bill regarding dental care, Mr Somlyay approached the manager of government business, Anthony Albanese, and said he was prepared to stand for Speaker if Labor was not going to nominate anybody.
He said somebody from the Coalition or an independent would have to nominate him and Labor would have to back him.
Had Labor accepted the offer and arranged for one of the independents to nominate him, the Coalition would have been down a number on the floor and the gain it had made from Mr Slipper's resignation would have been undone.
When Labor poached Mr Slipper from the Coalition benches to become Speaker, it cost the opposition a vote.
It is understood Labor declined the offer because of the complications of poaching another Coalition MP – and it had already locked in behind Ms Burke.
Mr Somlyay holds the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax, adjacent to Mr Slipper's seat of Fisher. He is retiring at the next election and dislikes Mr Slipper.
The Coalition was playing down the event today, claiming no treachery was involved.