Prime Minister Julia Gillard has again been unable to name any Australian laws broken by the controversial WikiLeaks website or its founder Julian Assange.
Western governments are increasingly calling for Mr Assange to be stopped as WikiLeaks continues to publish more than 250,000 confidential documents from the United States State Department.
But asked directly what Australian laws had been broken by either WikiLeaks or Mr Assange, Ms Gillard said the Australian Federal Police were investigating.
"The foundation stone of it is an illegal act," Ms Gillard told reporters today.
But the "foundation stone" was the leaking of the documents to the website, not the publishing of the cables.
"It would not happen, information would not be on WikiLeaks, if there had not been an illegal act undertaken," Ms Gillard said.
It is widely assumed the man responsible for the leaks is a US soldier who is already in prison for previous leaks
Opposition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis accused Ms Gillard of being "clumsy" with her language on the issue of illegality.
"As far as I can see, he [Mr Assange] hasn't broken any Australian law," he told Sky News.
"Nor does it appear he has broken any American laws."
Senator Brandis, a Queen's Counsel, called for any debate about the publishing of the cables to have a well-defined understanding of the difference between something which appeared to be morally wrong and an act that was illegal.