A minister in an Australian state parliament has apologised after warning homeowners not to open their door to anyone with an Irish accent.

Marlene Kairouz, who is Minister for Consumer Affairs in the Parliament of Victoria, issued the apology after making the comments at an awareness campaign about unlicensed tradesmen on 29 October.

She faced calls to apologise after her comments were aired on a local television news report in Melbourne.

The report showed a clip of Ms Kairouz speaking at the event where she said: "If anybody knocks on your door that has an Irish accent, automatically ask them to leave."

Her comments were branded as "blatantly racist" by members of the Irish community in Australia.

She faced a storm of criticism on the Irish around Sydney Facebook group, which has more than 40,000 members.

One user commented: "How can this get approved to air on TV … pure racism against the Irish. It's a disgrace."

Another user added: "This is insane. So racist."

Ms Kairouz issued an apology on her Twitter page this morning.

The television report featured a 79-year-old woman who had paid AUD$4,500 to tradesmen who said they could fix her leaking roof.

However, they took the money from the woman before completing the job.

The television report also claimed that the alleged scam artists had "Irish accents".