Chinese communications giant Huawei has denied it poses a threat to Australia’s national security after the federal government refused to allow it to supply equipment to the country’s National Broadband Network (NBN).
Acting on the advice of intelligence agency ASIO, Julia Gillard’s Labor Government intervened late last year despite the government-owned NBN co-endorsing the equipment maker, according to the Australian Financial Review.
The company is owned by former People’s Liberation Army member Ren Zhengfei, who has never agreed to a media interview in China or abroad. It supplies equipment to government projects in the United Kingdom, but has made few inroads into the United States over fears of its connection to the Chinese regime and possible cyber attacks from China.
But Huawei executives, including former Victoria Premier John Brumby and former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, hit out at the move.
The government’s move was “complete nonsense”, Mr Downer told Australia’s national broadcaster.
“This whole concept of Huawei being involved in cyber warfare … based on the fact that the company comes from China and everybody in China who’s involved with information technology is involved in cyber warfare…is just completely absurd,” he said.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the Government had made a “prudent decision to make sure that that infrastructure project does what we want it to do.”