Labor WA into bed with commo Huawei
McGowan’s Labor government in WA has ignored Australian security agency warnings and has gone all the way with communist Huawei. It matters not to Labor that the US, the UK, New Zealand and indeed the Australian government all have shunned Huawei. The Australian Huawei salesman John Lord (ex Australian Navy senior officer) still clings to his pay package from Huawei when most other Aussie notables co-opted have jumped ship.
The McGowan Government is pushing ahead with its contract with Chinese telecommunications company Huawei to build a new digital radio system for Perth’s trains, saying it has received assurances from the company. Transport Minister Rita Saffioti had asked Huawei whether it could deliver the $200 million contract after the US Government unsealed two indictments against the company in January. The Public Transport Authority (PTA) awarded the contracts for the 4G project’s design, build and maintenance to a joint venture between Huawei and UGL in July 2018, after expressions of interest were sought the previous year.
Huawei contract for Perth trains confirmed by WA Government despite US-China fight
Ms Saffioti has told Parliament that at her request, senior PTA staff met in February with eight senior Huawei and UGL staff, including Huawei Australia chairman John Lord.
“The Huawei and UGL representatives confirmed they would be able to source equipment required for the project. Further confirmation was subsequently received by the PTA,” Ms Saffioti said.
“The State Government is committed to delivering this project, and making sure that the proponents deliver on their contractual obligations.
“To that end the state will continue to monitor this contract, with the involvement of other key state agencies.”
The allegations by the United States Justice Department in January prompted greater scrutiny of how the Chinese tech giant does business and intensified a trade dispute between the US and China.
Security advice on Huawei followed: Saffioti
Ms Saffioti said because of the ongoing monitoring of the contract, she had been advised she could not table correspondence with the company “at this stage”.
The dramatic arrest in Canada of Huawei’s chief financial officer for possible extradition to the US shocked many. But what exactly is Huawei and why does it seem like it’s continually being targeted by foreign governments?
Deputy Liberal leader Lisa Harvey said the correspondence from Huawei promising it could deliver the contract should be made public, and it was typical of Ms Saffioti to “hide” it.
“That’s typical of this Minister. She’s very secretive,” Ms Harvey said.
“We constantly have to go to the FOI commissioner, to get clearance from the FOI commissioner with respect to information she fails to provide.”
The State Opposition has previously questioned the extent to which the Government consulted with security agencies over the contract, and whether it properly followed any advice.
There have also been wider concerns over whether the firm’s technology would enable outside access to Australian infrastructure.
But Ms Saffioti repeated her position that the Government had sought and followed advice from Commonwealth security agencies.
No Chinese interference, Huawei says
In January, Mr Lord insisted the Chinese government had never asked nor directed Huawei to gather information for intelligence purposes in Australia.
“I have been over the last seven years involved in Huawei’s highest level strategic planning groups,” he said at the time.
“I’ve never seen any such influence. It’s been free-flowing and in fact the points we address are: ‘What is that country’s view on X, Y and Z and how do we meet that in that country?’
“So there has been no suggestion, no inference of any Chinese interference in our operations in other countries.”
The digital radio system project was separated from a broader proposed “automatic train control” project in 2013-14.
It will see Huawei build around 80 radio masts and base stations throughout the metropolitan network and replace radio devices in trains, security vehicles and handheld radios.
The network, which is due to be up and running in 2021, will be used by train drivers, as well as customer service, security and train control staff.
Ms Saffioti has previously said the radio system would be a closed network, like one in New South Wales.
“We are confident about the security aspects in relation to the system,” she said.