`Australians at odds with PM over release of US cables`

Julia Gillard says the US diplomatic cables should have remained secret.

Updated: Jan 06, 2011, 13:36 PM IST

Melbourne: Majority of Australian voters are upset with Prime Minister Julia Gillard over the release of classified US government cables, according to a new poll.

Just one-quarter of voters agree with Gillard`s view that the diplomatic cables recently published by WikiLeaks should have remained secret, The Age reported quoting the survey.

The findings showed 59 percent support WikiLeaks` action in making the cables public and 25 percent oppose it. The survey of 1,000 Australians by pollster UMR Research was taken between December 16 and 21, three weeks after the cables from US embassies began appearing.

UMR managing director John Utting said support for the release of the cables was strongest among men, the more affluent and younger voters, and the better educated.

"Also there is little difference between the two major parties, while Green voters overwhelmingly support the release," Utting said.

The UMR poll also found 51 percent of Australian voters have a generally positive opinion of Julian Assange, while 24 percent hold negative views towards the WikiLeaks founder.

While 68 percent of male voters said they support the WikiLeaks release, only 51 percent of female voters agree. Over 60 percent of voters opposed any prosecution for releasing the documents, with just 19 percent believing he should be prosecuted.

According to Utting, the most significant finding from the polling is the almost complete lack of support for prosecuting Assange. The public is overwhelmingly against this.