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Abusive tweets from top Liberal Party pollster

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Indonesia crisis deepens

Tony Abbott repeats his statement of regret Wednesday evening, as Indonesia orders an end to bilateral co-operation. Labor continues to back the government in 'a team Australia moment'.

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As the government sought to limit damage from the phone-tapping affair, a Liberal Party senior adviser issued a series of racially-loaded remarks about top Indonesian government figures, which have been reported prominently in the Indonesian press.

Liberal Party pollster Mark Textor, who is a close counsel to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, made the front page of one of Indonesia's most prominent media outlets, the Indonesian-language Kompas newspaper for his series of abusive comments, with one likening Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa to a ''1970s Pilipino [sic] porn star''.

Textor's comments lead the hompage of popular Indonesian news website Kompas.com.

Textor's comments lead the hompage of popular Indonesian news website Kompas.com.

The comments threatened to inflame sensitive relations between Canberra and Jakarta at time when Prime Minister Tony Abbott was moving to reassure President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that Australia regrets any offence caused by the reports of unauthorised phone tapping.

In one tweet, since deleted, Mr Textor attacked the Indonesian Foreign Minister.

''Apology demanded from Australia by a bloke who looks like a 1970s Pilipino [sic] porn star and has ethics to match,'' he tweeted along with the hash-tag ''#Fairfax demands appeasement''.

Mark Textor's tweet that has made the front page of Indonesia's main newspaper

Mark Textor's tweet that has made the front page of Indonesia's main newspaper

In another, the Liberal insider asked ''What sort of head of state communicates with a head of a neighbouring government by twitter FFS? SBY''. FFS is shorthand for ''for f---'s sake''.

In a further tweet, Mr Textor said the phone-tapping incident revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden was in 2009 and said ''Maybe SBY uses some sort of weird-ass ancient calendar''.

But he also appeared to justifying the phone tapping of the Indonesian President and his wife as well as eight other senior figures with the tweet: ''Last time I looked no Indonesians were ever bombed in Australia.'' He published pictures of the Bali bombers under the tweet ''Nothing to see here.''

Bold remarks: Mark Textor.

Bold remarks: Mark Textor. Photo: Domino Postiglione

The opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, called for Mr Abbott to distance himself and the government from the Textor remarks.

''These comments are disgraceful,'' she said. ''The Prime Minister must disassociate himself, the Liberal Party, and the Australian government from them immediately and unequivocally.''

Former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser also weighed in on Twitter, demanding Mr Textor be sacked as the Liberal pollster.

Marty Natalegawa: compared to a 70s porn star.

Marty Natalegawa: compared to a 70s porn star. Photo: AFP

Mr Textor has been described as one of the most influential people in Australia. He has himself advocated the use of Twitter by prospective employers as a way of gauging a person's true character.

''Inevitably, Twitter users publish content about things that interest them. So instead of reading a CV with the usual list of interests - reading, movies and current affairs - you can drill down to what they actually think about a book or nod your head in approval at their latest 'retweet'. It helps determine whether a person is the right fit in the workplace culture,'' he wrote.

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270 comments

  • Bird's of a feather fly together. Tony and Mark make a wonderful pair.

    Commenter
    Rob
    Date and time
    November 21, 2013, 6:56AM
    • Tony Abbott should do the right thing and sack Mark Textor.

      But he won't.

      Commenter
      Peter A
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      November 21, 2013, 9:02AM
    • I understand that this happened whilst Rudd was PM and this sort of intelligence gathering happens all the time and every country with the technical capabilities is guilty but that isn't the issue anymore.

      The issue now is how what should have been a minor diplomatic spat has been mishandled so badly.

      A simple diplomatic half apology with a nod and a wink would have seen the end of this carry on but instead we now have people in Indonesia using this for political gain.

      Sort of reminds me of Tony Abbott using the asylums seeker issue when he was in opposition.

      Commenter
      Paul01
      Location
      Riverina
      Date and time
      November 21, 2013, 9:08AM
    • Is it just me or is anyone else seeing the libs true colors coming through....a slight tinge of red seems to be coming through on the back of their necks......

      I can't believe that the ALP are holding back....they should be putting their boot in..... TA in opposition would have........

      Commenter
      Sam
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      November 21, 2013, 9:11AM
    • The arrogance and childishness of these clowns is astounding. Worst Government ever!

      Commenter
      JJ
      Date and time
      November 21, 2013, 9:24AM
    • @Paul01 Your attempt at 'damage control' would be more effective if you actually read the article. Blaming Rudd for a Liberal pollster being an idiot on Twitter yesterday isn't going to fly.

      Commenter
      Simon
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      November 21, 2013, 9:41AM
    • A government of the redneck, for the redneck.

      Commenter
      The brown note
      Date and time
      November 21, 2013, 9:51AM
    • He looks like a bully, sounds like a Bully, and thinks like a bully then he must be a Liberal. What is happening with this country is beyond belief and very embarrassing. What a distasteful statement void of any decency.

      Commenter
      Liberal in Action
      Date and time
      November 21, 2013, 9:52AM
    • It is staggering how someone can say these things, while behind the scenes people are trying to repair the damages. What use are these remarks, it jus makes us out to be racists and it is clearly now, that Indonesia has the 'moral high ground'.. But it does make me think what else this person has said over time.

      Commenter
      wdawes
      Date and time
      November 21, 2013, 9:53AM
    • While I dislike Textor, I almost couldn't believe this story. The comments are so stupid I first thought that maybe someone is pretending to be him...or his twitter account was hacked somehow (yeh, I know nothing about that Twitter...only the twitter of birds at my bush home). Then I pondered, perhaps he was drunk? Not an excuse of course, but I'm searching for some explanation. I just can't fathom the foolishness!

      Commenter
      Passionfruit
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      November 21, 2013, 9:53AM

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