The Australian government has become the latest organisation to face embarrassment over editing of Wikipedia entries.

Thousands of changes by employees at the Defence Department and Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet have been discovered by tracking site WikiScanner, including some rather obscure contributions. One simply stated: “Poo bum dicky wee wee”.

They also included edits to articles on national affairs such as immigration and the Australian Defence Force Academy, as well as the removal of a claim that Treasurer Peter Costello was known by the nickname ‘Captain Smirk’.

Prime Minister John Howard denied that he ordered his staff or department to perform the changes, while the Defence Department said it had blocked access to Wikipedia’s editing system. Its computers were found to have been the source of more than 5000 alterations.