Federal Coalition MP Andrew Laming will keep his job as shadow parliamentary secretary for indigenous health, despite sending an ''inflammatory'' tweet about Aboriginal and Pacific Islander communities, who clashed south of Brisbane on Monday evening.
In response to the violence in Logan - which saw riot police called in - Dr Laming tweeted on Monday: ''Mobs tearing up Logan. Did any of them do a day's work today, or was it business as usual and welfare on tap?'' The Queensland MP later retweeted the remark.
Trade Minister Craig Emerson, whose Rankin electorate includes Logan, described the comment as appalling and disgusting, and said Dr Laming should rethink his position as shadow parliamentary secretary.
''Obviously, we call for calm, we call for people to settle down [in Logan],'' Dr Emerson told Fairfax Radio on Tuesday. ''The process is not helped by the shadow parliamentary secretary for indigenous health, Andrew Laming, inserting himself into an area where he has no legitimate business.''
The Trade Minister also called on Opposition Leader Tony Abbott - who is on leave - to reprimand Dr Laming. ''Mr Abbott should ring Mr Laming and have a frank conversation about whether Mr Laming is fit to continue in his role,'' he said.
Logan Mayor Pam Parker said the police did not need politicians making inflammatory comments, while Dr Laming's tweet outraged other Twitter users and prompted former ALP candidate Francis Ventura to create a petition saying: ''Mr Laming needs to apologise immediately; otherwise his position as a shadow frontbencher has become untenable.''
Dr Laming responded on Twitter, saying the move was a ''petty-ition''. He followed up with a post to ''clarify'' his original tweet, writing: ''Working together to resolve these riots the priority. Training and a chance for jobs are key.''
In early 2011, Dr Laming prepared a list of tips for elected members on how to interact with voters on Twitter and Facebook. His three-page handbook warned MPs against social media missteps. On his website, he describes himself as ''Australia's most innovative user of social media in politics''.
There was no suggestion on Tuesday from acting Opposition Leader Warren Truss that Dr Laming would lose his Coalition role. Mr Truss said Dr Laming had issued a clarifying tweet and that was ''appropriate''.
''The first priority is to resolve the issues within the community and to build the social-support networks to create a more cohesive community,'' he said, adding that the Coalition would not be ''lectured'' to by Labor on the issue.
Dr Laming declined to respond to emails and phone calls. A poll he posted on his Facebook page overnight on Monday asked: ''Should Brisbane street brawlers have the cost of police call-outs/damage deducted from their welfare?''
Conflict between the Aboriginal and Pacific Islander communities flared at the weekend and escalated again on Monday. Pacific Islander elder Ofa Fukofuka denied the problem was racial and has said it is a disagreement between youths from different groups.
With JONATHAN SWAN, AAP