WikiLeaks actions `illegal`: Australian PM

Authorities are investigating whether Assange has broken Australian laws.

Sydney: Australia`s Prime Minister slammed WikiLeaks` publication of classified documents as "illegal" on Thursday, in the country`s strongest condemnation yet of the website`s ongoing release of sensitive data.

Julia Gillard`s comments, while tough, did not indicate Australia was about to take legal action against Australian-born WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The country`s attorney general reiterated on Thursday that authorities are investigating whether Assange has broken any Australian laws, but have not yet reached a conclusion.

"I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website," Gillard told Fairfax Radio. "It`s a grossly irresponsible thing to do and an illegal thing to do."

On Sunday, WikiLeaks released thousands of US diplomatic memos, enraging federal officials and prompting other countries to question whether the US could be trusted.

On Monday, Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland said police were investigating whether WikiLeaks had broken any Australian laws with its latest document dump. Following Gillard`s comments on Thursday, a spokesman for McClelland confirmed the investigation is ongoing.

Assange, 39, has not been seen in public since a November 05 news conference in Geneva. This week, a European arrest warrant was issued for him on Swedish rape charges.

McClelland said on Wednesday that Australia would detain Assange if possible in response to the Interpol warrant, as required under international agreements.

The attorney general said he was not aware of any request from the US to cancel Assange`s Australian passport.

Bureau Report