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'.PT2M37S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2xvv4 620 349 November 20, 2013
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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.
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
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. 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. 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.