New Oz government keeps Huawei ban after spook briefing
The brief thawing of Australian government attitudes to Huawei has turned out to be a false springtime, with the nation’s new Attorney-General George Brandis deciding that the decision to keep the Chinese giant out of the National Broadband Network (NBN) will remain.
According to the Australian Financial Review, the decision comes after briefings from unnamed intelligence services.
Huawei had been excluded from providing kit to the NBN under the previous government, shortly after US President Barack Obama’s visit to the country in November 2011. It’s often been assumed Obama, or one of those who made the visit with him, whispered something scary into Australia’s ear about the Chinese company during that visit.
Before Australia’s election, which saw the Liberal/National coalition replace the Labor government, various senior Liberal Party figures floated a review of Huawei’s pariah status. That Huawei had appointed former Liberal Party ministers to its board was seen as a sign the company would receive a favorable hearing from the new government.
As Vulture South previously reported, this appeared to suggest the vendor’s long work to get on the right side of the government was starting to pay off, something now scuppered by Brandis.
The attorney-general hasn’t detailed the reasons for his decision, merely telling the AFR that “Since the election the new government has had further briefings from the national security agencies. No decision has been made by the new government to change the existing policy.”
Which leaves open an important question: if the USA thinks Huawei is dangerous and Australia thinks Huawei is dangerous and the two share intelligence, as we know they do, why doesn’t the UK think Huawei is dangerous? ®