Nick Xenophon was recently interviewed by Rob Young, from BBC World Service’s World Business Report, on the UK Government’s decision to ban Huawei technology from its 5G networks by 2027.
Rob Young: Nick Xenophon used to be an Australian senator and now runs a law firm that represents Huawei.
Nick Xenophon: Huawei has already been banned by the Australian Government. But we now have found out partly through the memoirs of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that there was no evidence in fact, there was no smoking gun about Huawei at all. It was a fear based, and without evidence of security concerns.
It’s very concerning that the news in Australia in the last 24 hours has been it’s been revealed that Telstra, our national telecommunications network isn’t using Huawei gear because it’s banned, but it is using 5g equipment from a company a joint venture with Ericsson, the Scandinavian manufacturer of 5g equipment, that is in joint venture with a company that the US Department of Defense accuses of having links to the People’s Liberation Army.
So there seems to be a lack of due process or lack of evidence in terms of the decisions made in Australia.
Australia was the first western country to say that they had concerns about Huawei. The main worry in the UK seems to be about its reliability after the US decision on access to chip technology. Do you think that is fair enough to make a decision on that basis?
It seems that the UK government was unmoved by the lobbying by the US that it relied on the cool headed facts based vetting of the security agencies in the UK.
But one of the reasons UK intelligence were reassured about Huawei was that it was using US semiconductor technology, the fact that the Trump administration is now threatening to remove that reassurance by considering a ban on US semiconductor technology being used by Huawei is loaded with irony – and it seems Machiavellian maneuvering at its best.
Huawei has always said that it does not and it would not spy for China, but China’s national security law does say that Chinese firms should As the government says, when it comes to matters of national security, so you can’t entirely rule out that Huawei would spy on another nation?
Well, I can rule this out. I know that Huawei in its operations in Australia for 15 years has been an unblemished corporate citizen. And the position is this – that any company, whether it’s Huawei or any other technology or other company, that operate in a country have to comply with the laws of that country.
Listen to the full program here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w172xkb2j33ldn1