A boycott of proceedings pending a legal challenge to the legitimacy of the new government left the opposition benches empty except for one member - the ousted community development minister, Dame Carol Kidu.
Lady Kidu, facing down 59 male members of the new government, took a lonely seat at the back of the opposition benches.
From this humble position she launched an impassioned speech questioning if ''we have thrown our constitution to the wind … the ends do not justify the means''.
She congratulated Mr O'Neill on pledges to urgently address corruption, education, health, crumbling roads and infrastructure, but cautioned that ''we do not get caught up in the rhetoric … we have heard this sweet rhetoric over and over.
''Let's be honest with our people, I implore you.''
Lady Kidu had been in South Africa representing Pacific health interests and missed last week’s dramatic events which saw defections from the government enable Mr O'Neill to win the leadership.
Source: Brisbane Times