Marlene Kairouz has admitted to a 'poor choice of words' when issuing advice about scammers
An Australian politician has apologised after warning people to turn away 'anybody with an Irish accent' who calls to their door.
Victoria's consumer affairs minister Marlene Kairouz was speaking while issuing a warning against scammers.
A news report from Nine News Melbourne details cases of scammers claiming they will carry out various oddjobs or maintenance work for cash, but making off with the money instead.
The report suggests that 'men with Irish accents' is a 'common feature' of scam reports.
However, Ms Kairouz advised particular caution, stating: "If anybody knocks on your door that has an Irish accent, automatically ask them to leave."
Following criticism of the remarks, Ms Kairouz took to Twitter to apologise.
Yesterday I made a comment at a scam awareness campaign launch that caused offence to people with Irish heritage 1/3— Marlene Kairouz MP (@MarleneKairouz) October 31, 2017
She added: "Recent scammers have been backpackers from the UK & Ireland & I was giving this info to the public. I admit I delivered this [message] poorly.
"I sincerely apologise for causing offence and my poor choice of words".
The apology drew further anger, however, as users described the initial remark as 'offensive', 'racist' and 'outrageous' - with some even demanding a televised apology.
After the remark you made and the amount of Irish people living in Australia that you offend, an apology on twitter is NOT good enough.— Vanessa Lynch (@VanessaLynch_) October 31, 2017
An apology on National TV, to the masses with whom you spoke last night would be a start. For shame.— Siobhán Na Spág (@siobhannaspag) October 31, 2017
Census data from last year shows that 7.6% of Australian people claim Irish ancestry.