Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien has apologised to his electorate for the events that unfolded in Canberra last month. He labelled them
Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien has apologised to his electorate for the events that unfolded in Canberra last month. He labelled them "distressing and confusing for the nation”. Warren Lynam

'Distressing, confusing': MP issues apology over spill

MEMBER for Fairfax Ted O'Brien has issued an apology over the events that led to Malcolm Turnbull being ousted as Australia's prime minister.

Mr O'Brien, in an email to his electorate, labelled last month's leadership spill as "confusing and distressing for the nation".

He said he had not gone to Canberra expecting a leadership spill and had made it clear to his colleagues that he would vote against one.

"So I was completely caught by surprise when the week began with prime minister Malcolm Turnbull bypassing a spill motion and vacating the chair as Liberal leader to force a secret ballot on his leadership."

He said with events unfolding so quickly, half of Cabinet resigning and Parliament closed, he had little choice but to support Peter Dutton's petition for a party room meeting.

"It was clear to me that allowing our party's leadership paralysis to persist until the September sitting period was unacceptable and so I added my name to a petition calling for a second party room meeting to resolve the issue."

Mr O'Brien described The Guardian's claims he had backed Mr Dutton in the first leadership challenge as "purely speculation".

"Then and now I respect the confidentiality of the secret ballot process.

"What I will say is that ahead of the ballot I explained my position to all the candidates involved and voted for stability and unity moving forward.

He said Mr Morrison had his full support and that he was looking forward to a "fresh page in our nation's history".