Huawei is the ‘most unfairly maligned’ company in Australian history: Nick Xenophon

Kieran Adair

July 13, 2020

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Nick Xenophon joined Sky News’ Paul Murray Live on Sunday, 12 July to discuss Xenophon Davis client Huawei.

During the interview, he points to the double standard being applied to Huawei and Telstra, after revelations that Telstra’s equipment is being provided by a Chinese state-owned electronics company.

Telstra is the only 5G provider in Australia at the moment, and is sourcing it’s equipment from a joint venture with Erikson and Panda Electronics – a company that the US Department of Defence says is either owned by, or controlled, by the People’s Liberation Army.

Nick Xenophon, Sky News, 12 July 2020 – Full Transcript:

What I am concerned about is the fact that Huawei has been banned and I think the process has been unfair and there has been a lack of due process – it has lacked all of the things that we should afford a company operating within the law in Australia.

What is extraordinary is that Telstra is getting its 5G kit as well as 4G and 3G for the last decade before that from a company, a joint-venture arrangement, with Ericsson and Panda Electronics.

The gear is made in China and Panda Electronics is actually state-owned and according to the US Department of Defence it is run by the People’s Liberation Army – that’s what the US Department of Defence itself is saying.

We have heard outrage about Huawei but we don’t hear anyone talking about the fact that Panda Electronics, that is providing equipment right now to Telstra – this is our national carrier that provides services to ASIO, ASD and other critical communications infrastructure!

There seems to be a double-standard here, it seems that Huawei has been a convenient whipping post and yet Telstra – which by the way happens to be a corporate sponsor of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute – is fine.

There is a double standard here, I have not heard ASPI say anything about the fact that Panda Electronics in its joint-venture arrangement with Ericsson is providing 4G and 5G gear for our national carrier in the form of Telstra – where has the vetting been?

What is extraordinary in this whole process has been that Huawei has said, “We want to comply with all Australian law, that’s our first priority, we will comply with the law in whatever country we operate in.”

That has to be their priority and they have offered all of the source code, all of the material in order to ensure that there are no back-doors, there are no front-doors and there are no issues there of foreign interference.

Yet when Ericsson and Nokia, who have joint-venture arrangements in place to make 5G equipment in China with state-owned enterprises, they were not as forthcoming in terms as having their equipment being subject to the same level of scrutiny that Huawei wanted.

Huawei has been an open book on this and I think there is a double standard.

What has been missing in all of this has been a fact-based debate because the facts actually matter here.

Huawei in it’s more than fifteen years in Australia has been a model corporate citizen, there has never been any suggestion let alone evidence that they have done the wrong thing.

Their priority is to comply with Australian security laws….my concern is that we have had a debate that has not been based on the facts, it has been based on a number of myths.

I find it extraordinary that our national carrier Telstra, that deals with very sensitive communications, is getting its 4G and 5G equipment from a company that according to the United States Department of Defence is not only state-owned by the Chinese government but under the control of the People’s Liberation Army.

I have not heard the Australian Strategic Policy Institute complain about that and I would have thought they would have taken an interest in it since Telstra is one of their corporate sponsors.

Where is the scrutiny of that?

There is double standard here, Huawei is a convenient whipping post.

Watch the full interview on skynews.com.au

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Written By Kieran Adair

Kieran Adair is a reporter for Xenophon Davis, covering government accountability, civil liberties, and whistleblower trials. He has previously written for the Michael West, Guardian Australia, and Sydney Criminal Lawyers. Twitter: @kieranadair_

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