Melbourne: Suspected Chinese spies have hacked the parliamentary computers of Australian Premier Julia Gillard, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, Defence Minister Stephen Smith, and seven other Cabinet Ministers, a media report said.

US intelligence officials tipped off the Australian government about the espionage which occurred over more than a month, starting in February, Sydney's a daily quoted saying.

Four separate government sources confirmed that they had been told Chinese intelligence agencies were among a list of foreign hackers that are "under suspicion", a daily said.

A probe is now said to be under way into the cyber attack which may have occurred on Australian Parliament House email network used primarily for MPs' correspondence and not on the more secure departmental network which Ministers use for sensitive communications, it said.

An intelligence brief to the Australian government by the CIA and the FBI is believed to have revealed that hackers had been accessing the computers of a number of Ministers.

The Attorney General Robert McClelland would neither confirm nor deny the cyber-spy incident. "The Australian government takes the issue of cyber security very seriously and is constantly strengthening cyber security measures. Australia has in place a range of measures including the Cyber Security Operations Centre within Defence Signals Directorate and a dedicated cyber investigations unit," McClelland said.

(Agencies)