WA Liberal Ken Wyatt says it was unhelpful of Tony Abbott to describe him as an "urban Aboriginal", saying all Aboriginal Australians are authentic wherever they live.
But Mr Abbott said there had been some "misleading" reporting of his comments and yesterday emphasised how proud he was to have Mr Wyatt in coalition ranks.
The Opposition Leader told a Country Liberal Party dinner in Alice Springs at the weekend that Mr Wyatt was a good bloke but "not a man of culture".
He had gone to the Northern Territory in a failed bid to convince indigenous MP Alison Anderson to run for the seat of Lingiari against Labor incumbent Warren Snowdon.
On Tuesday, Mr Abbott described Ms Anderson as an "authentic representative of the ancient cultures of Central Australia" and described Mr Wyatt as an "urban Aboriginal".
Mr Wyatt told 6PR yesterday: "The set of comments don't help.
"It is unfortunate that we have got this whole debate going around authentic Aboriginals because all Aboriginal people, no matter where they live, are authentic.
"All of us are proud of our heritage. It does not matter where we live."
Mr Wyatt, Australia's first indigenous MP in the House of Representatives, has Noongar, Yamatji and Wangai heritage and his mother was a member of the Stolen Generation.
Mr Abbott said it was wrong for anyone to suggest his comments about Ms Anderson were a reflection on Mr Wyatt.
"There has been some very misleading reporting, some very misleading reporting on this issue," he said.
"Suffice to say that I am absolutely determined, absolutely determined to do what I can to get more indigenous people into the Parliament, and I am incredibly proud to have in our ranks Ken Wyatt."
Former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser tweeted yesterday that Mr Abbott had his "foot in mouth again", while WA Liberal senator Alan Eggleston used Twitter to defend Mr Wyatt.
"Recall around 85 per cent Aboriginals live in cities/country towns accessing mainstream services only small numbers in remote communities," Senator Eggleston wrote.
Liberal backbencher Alex Hawke said Mr Abbott's comments were a "little bit clunky" but no one could fault his desire for more indigenous parliamentary representation.