SYDNEY (AFP) - WikiLeaks has been recognised in Australia for its "outstanding contribution to journalism", with founder Julian Assange lashing out at "cowardly" Prime Minister Julia Gillard in an acceptance speech. The anti-secrecy website was lauded at the annual Walkley Awards, where winners are chosen by an independent panel of journalists and photographers, for its courageous reporting of secret US cables. "WikiLeaks applied new technology to penetrate the inner workings of govt to reveal an avalanche of inconvenient truths in a global publishing coup," the Walkley trustees said in bestowing the award Sunday evening. "Its revelations, from the way the war on terror was being waged, to diplomatic bastardry, high-level horse-trading and the interference in the domestic affairs of nations, have had an undeniable impact." The whistleblowing website has published thousands of cables in which US diplomats give their often candid views on world leaders, to Washington's acute embarrassment. Assange, an Australian citizen who has previously blasted Canberra for not doing enough to protect him in the fallout from the leaks, was scathing of the government in accepting the accolade in a pre-recorded video message.