“Australia went out very early with a 5G ban, in fact they were the first in the world. What has been shown since then is that discussions around security have moved on, that there is a better understanding of how 5G is going to work in a commercial sense, and we always welcome any opportunity to talk to the government about 5G.”
The comments come after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to allow Huawei to build parts of the country’s 5G Network. The move stands in stark contrast to Australia, where the government has banned Huawei due to security fears.
In the lead-up to Mr Johnson’s decision, four Australian MPs and chairs of parliamentary committees attempted to intervene, urging him to follow Australia’s ban.
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who blocked Huawei from Australia’s 5G network, recently told the BBC that the agencies had identified denial of network as the strongest security risk.
Huawei’s Mr Mitchell was in Canberra on Wednesday to listen to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s speech at the National Press Club, but said he had no meetings planned with government officials.
He said Huawei Australia would continue to ask the government and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher for the rules and guidelines around building 5G infrastructure in Australia in the hope his company will be able to get involved in the future.
“We want to meet those rules,” he said. “The government has every right to set very high standards, but we want the opportunity to understand what’s the bar we have to get over to help us deliver in Australia. We’ll keep asking.”
In the meantime, Mr Mitchell said the business remained focused on protecting its brand and highlighting the economic costs of excluding Huawei’s infrastructure from the Australian market.
“A lot of people have branded us a risk to Australia. We will continue to fight that. We have been in Australia for 16 years,” he said. “We are going to protect our brand, we owe that to our customers and staff. We are also going to highlight the economic costs of excluding Huawei and the impact on regional and rural Australia, they are going to be the big losers.”