Updated Fri at 12:27pm
Chinese telco giant Huawei has pleaded with the Federal Government to urgently reconsider its ban on the company providing equipment to Australia’s 5G mobile network.
- In a new parliamentary submission, Huawei said it had been the subject of “unfounded attacks and smears”
- Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the Government was standing by the ban
- In 2018, Huawei was banned from providing to Australia’s 5G network rollout
In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into 5G, Huawei said it was committed to “a robust framework of safeguards, checks and balances” to ensure its broadband technology could only be used in Australia’s national interest and economic wellbeing.
Huawei was outlawed from supplying 5G equipment on national security grounds last year by the then-Turnbull government on concerns Chinese intelligence might be able to hack into the network using “back doors”.
Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.AUDIO: Listen to Peter Ryan’s report on Huawei from the ABC’s AM Program (ABC News)
However in its submission, Huawei refuted claims that it answered to Beijing through a loophole in Chinese law as “unfounded attacks and smears” and said it wanted to be “open, transparent and completely cooperative” with the parliamentary inquiry into 5G.
“We make the point that we welcome a rigorous and transparent examination of this 5G ban, with the learnt experience in the UK and the European Union of robust checks and balances as a way forward to revisit the ban,” the submission said.
“Chinese law does not require Huawei to install ‘backdoors’ in networks or equipment. Huawei has never received such a request and we would categorically refuse to comply if we did.
“We would never compromise or harm a country, organisation or individual especially when it comes to cyber security and user privacy protection.”Follow this story to get email or text alerts from ABC News when there is a future article following this storyline.Follow this story
Government standing by ban
While conceding the parliamentary inquiry would not examine national security issues, the submission said the Federal Government needed to reconsider the evidence and Huawei’s “faster and more cost-effective” 5G technology.
However, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher told the ABC’s AM program that the Federal Government stood by its decision to ban Huawei from the 5G network.
Asked if he trusted Huawei given national security concerns, Mr Fletcher said: “I’m not going to get into commenting on any particular vendor. Those arrangements and that guidance was carefully developed and the Australian Government won’t be making any changes to that.”
Huawei Australia chairman John Lord has previously complained that the company has been locked of Canberra since the Turnbull government’s decision to ban it.
However, Mr Fletcher signalled that the door could be opened to Huawei to present its concerns.
“I have not had a meeting with Huawei since becoming Communications Minister but I am certainly happy to meet with them or indeed, any other significant player in the telecommunications sector,” Mr Fletcher said.
In the submission, Huawei warned Australia “cannot afford another NBN policy like failure” and that without its technology, rural and regional consumers could be left in an “economic backwater”.
“As the completion of the National Broadband Network comes into view it is clear the project has failed to close the divide between the city and the regions,” the submission said.
“Without access to 5G technology Australian farmers and agricultural sectors will be locked out of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ whilst their counterparts in Europe and Asia have full access to it and leapfrog ahead of us.”
Huawei said its exclusion from the 5G rollout would act as a “5G tax” on Australian citizens, with telcos paying as much as 40 per cent more for the high-speed technology.
Huawei cited two British parliamentary committees, which have concluded there are no technical reasons why Huawei should be banned from supplying 5G technology in the UK.