Huawei decision was "a big mistake", former Australian PM tells Nigel Farage

3 February 2020, 20:16

The former Australian Prime Minister told Nigel Farage why Boris Johnson's Huawei decision was a "big mistake" and why he hopes it is revised.

This was after Nigel asked Tony Abbott why his government refused to let Huawei be part of their digital infrastructure when Australia has "very close business links with China."

Conversely, the British government decided to give Huawei a "limited" role in the construction of the UK's 5G network, despite national security concerns from the US.

The Prime Minister said while they value their economic partnership with China they value their strategic partnership with the United States, so did not want to let a Huawei deal compromise the latter.

"We are entering a period of great power competition between the United States and China and when it comes to the strategic relationship, as far as Australia is concerned, the United States comes first. Our Five Eyes partners should come first," he said.

Tony Abbott said he hoped Boris Johnson's Huawei decision would be revised
Tony Abbott said he hoped Boris Johnson's Huawei decision would be revised. Picture: PA

"That's why I was more than a little disappointed with the government's position on Huawei and I hope it might still be revised. The reason why it's a big mistake to deal with that whatever Huawei might say, there is no such thing as a private business within China.

"All the businesses in China and all the people in China are subject to the control of the government in a way that would be unthinkable in a country like Britain or Australia. That's the reality."

The Australian Prime Minister also pointed out that a British company would not be permitted to access the Chinese infrastructure and he said while he is a fan of Boris Johnson this is a mistake.

"You just can't deal with the Chinese on these sort of issues."