Australia PM Abbott's adviser compares Indonesia foreign minister to '70s porn star'

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was urged to distance himself on Thursday from a Liberal party adviser who described the Indonesian foreign minister as resembling "a 1970s Filipino porn star".

Campaign strategist Mark Textor made the derogatory comment on Twitter as ties between the two countries plunged to their lowest point in years after a series of spying allegations.

"Apology demanded from Australia by a bloke who looks like a 1970's Pilipino (sic) porn star and has ethics to match," said the tweet, which has since been deleted.

Reports said he was referring to Marty Natalegawa, who has demanded Canberra apologise after documents leaked by US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden showed Australia tried to listen to the phone calls of the Indonesian president, his wife and ministers in 2009.

Labor opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said the adviser's comment would do nothing to repair relations with Jakarta and called on Abbott to distance himself from Textor.

"Frankly I was quite shocked. They're highly inappropriate comments, I'm pleased to be told they've now been taken off the Twitter feed," she told reporters.

"The prime minister must disassociate himself, the Liberal Party, and the Australian government from them immediately and unequivocally."

Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser also weighed in, demanding on Twitter that Textor be sacked immediately, while Greens leader Christine Milne called the remarks "appalling".

"Clearly he's a close confidant of the Liberal party and it says quite a lot about what they think in those back rooms," she told the ABC.

"This sort of tweet will be seen as just further inflaming the situation, particularly because of the close relationship between Mark Textor and the prime minister and the Liberal party in general."

Abbott's office was not immediately available for comment.

On Wednesday, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono suspended cooperation with Australia in the sensitive area of people-smuggling in retaliation to the spying claims.

He also announced that cooperation would be temporarily halted in a number of other areas, including military exercises and intelligence exchanges.

Indonesia recalled its ambassador from Canberra earlier this week over the scandal and Yudhoyono has publicly lambasted Abbott on Twitter for what he called a lack of remorse.