Chinese telco Huawei claims it’s getting a ‘receptive ear’ from the federal government on the possibility it could help build Australia’s new 5G wireless network.
But there have been suggestions the company could be blocked from providing some equipment for the upgrade because of national security concerns.
National security agencies recommended the company not be allowed to bid for 5G contracts, the Australian Financial Review reports.
But the company’s Australian chairman John Lord told ABC radio the company was being welcomed by the government.
‘We’re getting a very receptive ear as we put forward how 5G works, we’re getting welcomed as we continue to talk to government in an open way,’ he said.
He said officials had raised ‘no real concerns’ and questions about about software weaknesses and updates to the system that could allow backdoor entrances were only being asked in the context of cyber security as they were of all companies.
Attorney-General Christian Porter said there was an ability to exclude organisations on national security grounds.
He confirmed the government was seeking advice about ‘a range of organisations’ including Huawei but it was too early to say which ones may be excluded.
‘Clearly some of the advice is with respect to Huawei, of course, but there is advice sought on a range of other potential applicants in a process,’ he told ABC.
Asked if excluding the company could impact Australia’s relationship with China, Mr Porter said the relationship was a ‘mature’ one.
Labor’s defence spokesman Richard Marles said it was important to listen to national security agency advice on these matters and would support blocking the company.
The opposition previously blocked Huawei from providing equipment for the National Broadband Network in 2012.