Monday, 18 June 2018

Good luck with telling voters they are better off than a few years ago

Extract from The Guardian

The news was not good this week for those hoping for an end to the weak wages growth – weakening employment figures suggest little chance of wages growth improving, and a speech by the head of the Reserve Bank suggests the problem is unlikely to be improved soon.
Last year was certainly a good one for jobs. After a terrible 2016, which saw full-time employment go backwards, 2017 boomed – the largest increase in the percentage of adults working full-time in a calendar year observed since the bureau of statistics started recording labour force figures on a monthly basis in 1978.
Not surprisingly the government is loathe to let go of the year as the main reference point.
For example the minister for jobs and innovation, Senator Michaelia Cash, referred to it last month when she boasted to parliament of 2017 being “the strongest year of jobs growth on record. In excess of 415,000 more jobs were created and, colleagues, three-quarters of those jobs were full-time jobs”. The prime minister on 31 May also told parliament, “We’ve come a long way – record jobs growth last year, 415,000 jobs.”
But alas, 2018 has not been as good.
The latest labour force figures out this week showed that rather than the 415,000 figure of 2017, the past 12 months has seen just 303,900 more people employed – still a solid result, but certainly no longer the record-breaking number the government was once able to talk about.
The picture gets worse when we turn to full-time employment. In seasonally adjusted terms, the number of full-time jobs since December has actually fallen.
And with the fall also goes the likelihood – however slight it already was – of wages growth improving anytime soon.
While the drop in unemployment to 5.4% is always welcome (although in trend terms the rate has been at 5.5% now for 10 straight months), more and more (as I’ve noted over the past three years) the level of underemployment is the crucial measure.
Once upon a time this would not have been a major concern. If the unemployment rate fell, then so too would the underemployment rate.
Now, not so much.
Back in February 2013 when the unemployment rate was also at 5.4%, the underemployment rate was just 7.3% – that is a difference of around 160,000 more people being underemployed.
That is a lot of extra spare capacity in the labour market – people who would take more hours over a pay rise.
The issue for the government as it seeks to go to an election trying to persuade voters they are better off now than they were in 2016 or 2013 is that not only is wages growth unlikely to improve while underemployment remains high, the economy has changed such that even should the situation improve, wages will likely go up by less than we would have once expected.
The Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe noted in a speech this week that while there were cyclical issues at play that were keeping wages growth down, there were also structural changes to the economy. Chief among these was “changes in the bargaining power of workers” and “an increase in the supply of workers as the global economy becomes increasingly integrated”.
The two are connected.
It is not migration numbers per se that is the issue, but that temporary workers brought in are being done so by companies seeking to ensure lower levels of unionised labour and higher levels of non-permanent staffing, which combined reduces the capacity for workers to argue for higher wages.
In effect the system is changing to keep underemployment high in order to ensure that wages growth remains low.
And that is just how businesses like it.
Heck, the mouthpiece for the business in the media, the Australian Financial Review this week editorialised that those worried about low wages growth were “whingeing” and workers should be happy given the solid wages growth they got during the mining boom (yes, a decade ago).
I guess the governor of the Reserve Bank must now be included as one of those whingers. He noted that the long period of low wages growth “is diminishing our sense of shared prosperity” and that “it is clear that the slow growth in wages is affecting our economy”.
In the old days the solution was higher productivity. But even here the issue is tied with Lowe’s talk of the global supply of workers. It is not just about temporary workers coming here, but businesses being able to offshore workers in order to reduce labour costs in work that once was considered imperative to be done by local workers.
And technology in the past was also seen as the answer for driving higher productivity – better machines to enable workers to produce more.
But now we see reports that are not about improving labour productivity but reducing labour. This week, Business Insider’s Paul Colgan reported on analysis which estimated that automation could enable the big four banks to cut 40,000 workers over the next five to 10 years – or around 25% of their staff.
Hardly the type of productivity growth that is going to lead to better wages or household incomes.
It’s not a great story, and it is why as we get closer to the election the government will need to explain why in the face of evidence to the contrary, voters should believe their predictions that wages growth will soon improve.
It’s an argument that in some ways echoes the labour market itself.
Being underemployed is better than being unemployed, and voters are more likely to be patient for better wages if employment is growing well and unemployment is falling. But if the jobs growth continues to slow it will more and more feel to workers like they have seen the best the government can deliver, and that best did not include an improved standard of living.

Greg Jericho is a Guardian Australia columnist

Australian firms told to catch up on climate change risk checks

Extract from The Guardian

New report says Australian companies lag behind international organisations
Australian companies are not doing enough work to model the risks of climate change and how it will affect their profitability, a new report by a thinktank says.
Progressive thinktank the Centre for Policy Development says that while most companies have committed to considering what climate change and the Paris climate agreement means for their business strategy, too few have begun using scenario analysis techniques to model what its impacts could be and how to respond to it.
Australia’s financial regulator stepped up its warnings last year that climate change posed a risk to the financial system and urged companies to adapt.
The Financial Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures has identified scenario analysis as a critical tool for companies and investors that are serious about responding to climate risks.
CPD policy director Sam Hurley said while many companies had said they will commit to modelling the impacts of climate change and potential responses for their business, few had actually started to undertake that work.
He said Australia was potentially exposed to large risks due to climate change, but there were also opportunities.
“Scenario analysis is going to be a really important driver of better strategies and of better outcomes for businesses that are preparing for these risks and opportunities,” he said.
“Some organisations in Australia have made a start doing that kind of analysis and more have committed to it.
“But what we’re going to need to see is more consistent, ambitious scenario analysis so that markets and investors have more accurate information when assessing how well companies are placed for transition to a zero-carbon economy.”
Hurley said, internationally, more organisations had begun considering how major emissions reductions and changes in policy as a result of climate change could affect their business and its profitability.
He said some of Australia’s biggest companies in the financial and resources sector already had sophisticated models in place for thinking about climate change and more needed to follow suit.
Companies that didn’t could expect scrutiny from their shareholders, as well as regulators.
“The period for words on this is over. What we really need to see over the next reporting season is companies walking the walk as well as talking the talk,” he said.
“Expectations around proper management of this issue are increasing and for companies that aren’t doing it, it’s going to be harder and harder to get away with it.” 

Tim Storer asks crossbench colleagues to prioritise tax relief for lowest paid

Extract from The Guardian

Key senator urges undecided Greens to join Labor and split bill to block costly cuts for high earners
Senate independent Tim Storer has made a last-ditch plea to the Greens, Labor and his wavering crossbench colleagues to split the Turnbull government’s income tax bill to give low paid workers some hip pocket relief while blocking expensive tax cuts for high flyers.
Before- parliament’s resumption for the final sitting fortnight before the winter recess, Storer told Guardian Australia it would be “unfair” to hold up tax relief for low income earners “at a time when wages are stagnating and they struggle to pay their bills for essentials”.
That message for the Greens – who will decide on Monday whether to join a Labor effort to split the package – was followed by one for Labor, which could end up waving the package through in the event the numbers to split the package fail to materialise, given the political difficulties associated with opposing tax cuts.
Storer urged Labor to resist the path of least resistance. “It would be rash and irresponsible to commit future parliaments to the massive spending entailed in stage two and three of the tax cuts when the state of the budget remains fragile and Treasury admits its projections beyond the forward estimates are subject to significant error bands.”
The Greens thus far have rejected the entire budget package, saying the funding of services should be the priority. Labor has supported stage one while reserving its position on stage two. The opposition rejects stage three, which would flatten the tax scales, delivering benefits to the highest income earners.
As key Senate players make up their minds a new analysis of bracket creep – which has been used by the government as a justification that its package needs to pass in an all-or-nothing deal – has found taxpayers have, in most cases, already been “overcompensated” for slipping into a higher tax bracket through existing tax cuts.
With critical byelections in play in several states, the government will use the final sitting before the winter break to attempt to pass its stalled company tax cut plan and all three phases of its income tax cut proposal.
It needs eight out of 10 crossbenchers in order to pass any legislation Labor and the Greens reject. The company tax cuts need four more votes, after Pauline Hanson reneged on her deal with the government and pulled One Nation’s support. That sparked Brian Burston’s resignation from the party, which has diminished Hanson’s influence in the Senate.
Of the three phases of income tax cuts, only one – the $540 tax rebate for low and middle-income earners – has majority support. Its passage, though, rests on Labor’s attempt to force the government to split the legislation, something Mathias Cormann said he wouldn’t do on Sunday.
“We will not be supporting any amendments to split the bill,” he said.
In new analysis published by the Australia Institute, to be released on Monday, economist Matt Grudnoff found “Australian taxpayers at all income levels have received more in tax cuts than they have lost through bracket creep” and had “already been overcompensated for bracket creep”.
“Further income tax cuts cannot be justified by arguing they will reduce the impact of bracket creep,” Grudnoff wrote. “In addition, the government’s tax plan would further overcompensate those who have already been most overcompensated for bracket creep.”
Grudnoff’s analysis found someone earning $75,000 had been overcompensated by about $730 a year, while someone on $200,000, who would benefit the most from the government’s planned flat tax rate plan, was overcompensated by $10,700.
Labor has said it has concerns about the second tranche of the Coalition’s income tax plan, which increases the lower thresholds in an effort to address “bracket creep” within the marginal tax rates, and has all but ruled out support for the third which creates a flat tax rate for earners between $41,000 and $200,0000.
Without the Greens support, Labor’s amendment plan would fail.
Derryn Hinch, who continues to oppose business tax cuts for companies with a turnover in excess of $500m, told Guardian Australia he will not vote to split the income tax legislation. “I told the government I will vote for it all in one hit, they can have it,” he said.
Hinch said he had no idea which party would come out of top. “It will either go down in a screaming heap … I can’t see either side, at the moment, getting it through,” he said.
“But if company tax does go through, it will be despite [Tim] Storer and Hinch. Neither of us are going to move on this.”
Stirling Griff of the Centre Alliance told Guardian Australia last week he was open to splitting the bill to allow the passage of stage one and possibly stage two. Griff is expected to confirm his bloc’s position on stage three on Monday.

Bill Shorten says an election victory would 'embolden' the Liberals to privatise the ABC

Updated about 2 hours ago

Liberal members will be "emboldened" to sell the ABC if the party wins the next election, federal Labor is warning.

Key points:

  • Liberal Party members at a conference this weekend called on the Government to privatise the ABC
  • Senior government ministers have denied the Coalition has plans to do so
  • Bill Shorten says the Liberal Party will "sell off" the ABC if re-elected

The Opposition has leapt on calls from Liberal Party members for the national broadcaster to be privatised, except in regional areas.
Senior government ministers are rushing to deny the Coalition has plans to sell the ABC, despite the motion passing overwhelmingly at the Liberal national conference this weekend.
"Frankly, it is outrageous that the governing party, the party in government in Canberra, are saying they want to privatise the ABC," Labor Leader Bill Shorten said.
The motion is non-binding, meaning it is unlikely to have any impact on the Government's policies. But the motions do provide an insight into the internal machinations of the party.
Cabinet Minister Mathias Cormann said the Government had been very clear about the broadcaster's future.
"In case you are worried, let me assure you the Government will not be privatising the ABC," Senator Cormann said.
"This is a conference for the rank and file, it's a conference for party volunteers to have their say.
"If that's the most important issue the Labor Party wants to focus on, a policy change that is not happening … then go their hardest."
The Coalition has been increasing pressure on the ABC, lodging several complaints with its Managing Director Michelle Guthrie.

Mr Shorten argued Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will come under immense pressure to go further, if he wins the next election.
"We've got this highly implausible fairytale where Mr Turnbull says I'm not really with them," Mr Shorten said.
"Well, he'll be the Liberal candidate for prime minister. If he gets another chance as prime minister after an election the Liberal Party will be emboldened and they will sell off.
"This idea that somehow Mr Turnbull and the Liberal Party are two separate entities, two complete strangers sitting at a bar talking to each other, is rubbish."
Mr Shorten denied he had a similar problem with his party's Victorian members from the left wing, who want Labor to abandon its policy to maintain offshore processing of refugees and asylum seekers.
"My track record of working with my party and making sure we're marching to the beat of the same drum is much better than Mr Turnbull's.
"I've made it clear that I will take the debate to my party. Mr Turnbull's afraid of his party."

Sunday, 17 June 2018

There's a whiff of some significant political calls in the air

Next week, MPs will return to Canberra for the final parliamentary sitting fortnight before the winter break, ending several weeks of suspended animation.
A number of government policies are creeping towards a resolution of one kind or another. The national energy guarantee will either sink or swim over the next couple of months, and I suspect some government MPs will also use the opportunity of parliament’s resumption to start making noise about the next phase of the emissions reduction fight – new vehicle standards.
In 2017, the government released a series of proposed targets for vehicles in discussion papers seeking input from industry. Under the strongest target considered, new cars would have to cut their CO2 emissions by 45% below current levels by 2025 – from 192g of CO2 a kilometre to 105g.
While the key decisions are yet to be made, the internal grumbling is already under way. Nationals and some Liberals are huffing and puffing about the sanctity of man and his SUV.
Honestly, all this would really drive a saint mad. The same group of naysayers (members of a government that voluntarily signed the Paris climate agreement, just for the record) have already prevented Josh Frydenberg from settling on an emissions reduction target for electricity that would have delivered abatement at lower cost than having to chase significant (expensive) emissions reduction in transport – and now they also want to object to the government trying to land a strategy for vehicles.
But as irritating as these utterly predictable shenanigans are, the real definitional fight of the political fortnight will be on tax. A short recap might be in order, given political tragics have doubtless been distracted by Donald Trump’s efforts to completely upend the global order over the past couple of weeks.
The Turnbull government used the May budget to set up the please like me conversation it wants to have with voters on personal income tax cuts. The rest of the parliamentary players have been mulling their options ever since.
Labor supports phase one of the tax cuts. The government’s proposed low and middle-income tax offset will give $530 to 4.4 million taxpayers with incomes between $48,000 and $90,000 in 2018-19.
Labor is yet to determine a position on stage two, which lifts the top threshold for the 19% rate from $37,000 to $41,000 and lifts the top threshold for the 32.5% tax rate from $90,000 to $120,000. Labor is hostile to stage three, which abolishes the 37-cent tax bracket from mid-2024, in the process delivering a mighty handout to high income earners.
Labor wants to split the bill to allow passage of stage one and possibly stage two, while sinking stage three. But the government says it won’t split the bill, not on your nelly.
Now we enter Canberra’s favourite game of Senate bingo. Turn your eyes now to the Greens, because without the Greens, Labor has zero chance of splitting the package (or more precisely, moving amendments to strip out various schedules).
What will the Greens do? Well, we don’t know yet, because the party is yet to make a decision. That will happen next week.
You might not have noticed, because everyone has to emote like shrieking banshees to be noticed these days on our cluttered political stage, but the Greens are opposing all tax cuts. Nope, nope, nope has been the party’s post-budget stance. If they persist with that disposition, then splitting the package becomes entirely hypothetical, because the numbers won’t be there.
If the Greens to decide to set aside nope in an effort to work with others to try and torpedo the tax cuts for high-income earners, then there is a prospect of getting the numbers to strip out schedules.
The South Australian independent Tim Storer will only support phase one of the package, which makes him an implicit yes for splitting the bill. Stirling Griff of the Centre Alliance says his Senate bloc of two is also open to splitting the bill.
The Centre Alliance supports phase one and two of the income tax cuts, and might yet support phase three, but won’t make a decision on that until next week. Centre Alliance has commissioned its own analysis on the impact of stage three, and wants to digest that before making a decision.
Even if they do sign up, Griff thinks stage three is entirely hypothetical in any case given it will be delivered two election cycles away. He told me this week: “We don’t have a problem with splitting the bill”. That takes the splitters faction very close to having the numbers.
In the event efforts to split the tax bill fail, either because the numbers don’t materialise or because the government point blank refuses to accept the Senate’s handiwork, then Labor will have to make a choice.
Does it then wave the lot through (despite its objections) in order to give low and middle-income earners certainty around getting their cash rebates next July? Does it say yes on the proviso that it will scrap the tax cuts for higher-income earners if it wins the next election?
The alternative is sinking the package. It’s a big thing to stand between a voter and a tax cut. It would be a hard thing to do politically, both for Labor and for the various crossbenchers. It would take some bottle.
It’s hard, but not impossible. In the event that’s where things end up at the conclusion of our game of chicken – Labor can point to the government’s unreasonableness. It can say (correctly) that the numbers are there now to pass stage one (and perhaps two) of the plan, and the reason that hasn’t happened is Scott Morrison has refused to split the package, because the treasurer is being a man-baby.
So stepping through all that is a long way of me saying the major parties (and the Greens and various crossbenchers for that matter) are on the brink of some significant political calls over the coming fortnight.
The government will have to decide if it really wants to play all or nothing with the income tax package, and Labor (and others) face the same decision.
Also in the back of people’s minds around the parliamentary precinct as the winter begins to grip is the timing of the next federal election.
Many in Labor are convinced the government will pick the fight on tax rather than look for a settlement and then dash for the polls some time over the next few months – particularly if the Liberals end up performing well in the byelections in Longman and Braddon at the end of July. The hint of momentum would be hard for a battered government to resist.
The logic of that is hard to argue with, except the prime minister keeps insisting he won’t do that – that he will run full term. He says that every time he is asked.
Now, is the prime minister a man of his word? Thus far Malcolm Turnbull has made much of not breaking any promises (unlike another prime minister who may have occupied the post immediately before him), but as is sometimes observed in the classics, only time will tell.

Howard backs Turnbull's fortunes as Liberal party votes to privatise ABC

Former PM tells Liberal party council there’s a clear mood change among people because of Shorten’s ‘very leftwing agenda’

The former prime minister John Howard says he senses “a clear mood change in the community”, with people turning back towards the Turnbull government, but pulling off a victory over Labor at the coming byelections would be “something approaching a political earthquake”.
Howard continued the theme of unity that has flowed through Liberal party leadership speeches at its 60th national council – which also voted overwhelmingly on Saturday to privatise the ABC as conservative anger at the public broadcaster continues to be a political flashpoint.
In a non-binding motion put forward by the Young Liberal Movement, members called for the full privatisation of the ABC, “except for services into regional areas that are not commercially viable”.
The Institute of Public Affairs has been increasing the volume on its calls to sell off Aunty, which it considers to be “a $1 billion public policy initiative that is increasingly out of date”.
In calling for the sell-off, the council was told “high sentimentality is no justification for preserving the status quo”.
There was no dissent from the room, and no count was needed for the vote.
Speaking about the party’s fortunes, Howard acknowledged that the road had been rocky for the Turnbull government.
“I think Malcolm Turnbull will win the next election, I think things are going better now than they have been for the last six months,” he said.
“There’s no point in pretending we haven’t had a few ups and downs, and haven’t been behind in the polls.”
But he believed the tide was turning and was buoyed by Labor’s comparatively low primary vote. He said that when the government changed hands in 1996, 2007 and 2013, the opposition parties had been polling in the mid-40s in the year or so before the elections.
“The Labor primary vote has been stuck below 40 per cent for a very long time,” Howard said.           
“That is a salutary reminder, although there may be irritation and disappointment with us, there is no enthusiasm for the replacement.”
In a news conference following his speech, Howard warmed to his theme of Turnbull’s improved political fortunes, but would not be drawn further on whether the prime minister was receiving the same level of support and unity as he did previously.
“All political parties have balance and those sorts of things. I think the government’s position is strengthening. It won’t be easy, but there has been a clear mood change in the community,” he said.
He put that down to Bill Shorten’s “very leftwing agenda”.
“I studied politics for a long time and the sort of leftwing populism he is embracing now is a throwback and I don’t think the public likes the class warfare,” he said.
“We have always had income differences in our country, and that is unavoidable, but providing people earning high incomes do it honestly and pay their taxes, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be entitled to aspire to do that. More Australians than Mr Shorten thinks do aspire to do better, and I think is a big mistake he is making.”
Howard also declined to say whether he believed the Liberal party should continue making preference deals with One Nation, after the loss of the WA and Queensland state elections.
But despite what he perceived to be a shift towards the government on a macro level, he did not think the party would win the 28 July Braddon or Longman byelections.
“The government’s chances in Longman and Braddon are very tough, very remote,” he said.
“Government’s don’t win byelections ... 1920, [was the last time a government won a byelection] I think it was in Kalgoorlie in very special circumstances ... so I think it is very hard and tough and unlikely. Let’s face it – people don’t normally award byelections to incumbent governments and I think people who are saying otherwise are trying to mitigate – or tamper with expectations.
“The expectations must be that Labor will retain both Longman and Braddon – that is the expectation. Obviously we will work hard and if we were to pull either or both of them off, that would be fantastic. That will be something approaching a political earthquake.”
But he said the ramifications for Labor, if the government did take one of the seats, would put Shorten’s leadership under threat.
“I think if Labor does badly in these byelections, of course there will be questions about Mr Shorten’s leadership.
“When you are in opposition for a lengthy period of time, there are always questions about your leadership. I could write a PhD on that.”
The communications minister, Mitch Fifield, who has made six complaints in almost as many months against the ABC over its content, most recently over analysis that the super Saturday byelection date was a political decision, said it was not government policy to privatise the ABC.
Fifield is attempting to change the ABC act to include the words “fair and balanced” into its charter, after striking a deal with One Nation over its media ownership laws.
The ABC has been under sustained attack from conservatives, including One Nation and Cory Bernardi, as well as elements of the Liberal party, which accuses the broadcaster of bias.
The government’s most recent budget froze the ABC’s funding at its current levels, which amounted to a $84m funding cut, with some of the savings redirected to a Captain Cook memorial in Scott Morrison’s electorate
The Abbott government cut $254m in 2014, while a further $28m was slashed in 2016. It is estimated the broadcaster has lost 800 jobs since the Coalition took government in 2013.
Labor has vowed to return the $84m indexation funding cut, if elected, as the opposition increases its advocacy for the ABC, in the face of conservative attacks.
In a separate motion, the council also voted to subject SBS to a funding review.
It was also overwhelmingly supported. 

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Huawei's history in Britain may help explain why Australia is so nervous


Updated about 3 hours ago

To understand the deep institutional anxiety about Huawei among Australia's closest security partners, you have to understand the British experience with the Chinese telecommunications giant.
It's not an episode that's much advertised, deliberately so. But it's an episode that is held against Huawei when it comes to why it should be denied access to Australia's 5G network, notwithstanding its expertise and industry excellence.
What's on the public record is heavily redacted, as much to hide the Brits' gross embarrassment about the extent of its network compromise as it is on grounds of national security.
The story begins in 2005 when BT (formerly British Telecom) embarked on a 10-billion-pound ($17 billion) upgrade of its network.
Huawei was contracted by BT to supply routers, transmission and access equipment.
For Huawei — which was founded 30 years ago by Ren Zhengfei, a former officer of the People's Liberation Army — the British contract was something of a PR coup, given its goal of breaking into the market in the United States.
Huawei has always denied direct links with the Chinese Communist Government, insisting it is 100 per cent owned by its employees, and the company cites the British contract as evidence of its trustworthiness and reliability.
But Huawei's involvement in the BT upgrade was far from celebrated.

Brits left to 'shut the stable door after the horse has bolted'

BT was under no obligation to inform the British government prior to awarding Huawei the contract.
As the UK's Intelligence and Security Committee reported in June 2013: "It means that the government may not be made aware of contracts involving foreign companies from potentially hostile states until they have already been awarded.
"The government is therefore sometimes put in the position of trying to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted."
In fact, the stable door was now controlled by Huawei.

But it wasn't until 2010, five years after the company was awarded a contract to supply transmission equipment, that the British government raised concerns with Huawei about concerns that its equipment was being exploited.
Sources briefed by British intelligence have told the ABC that a problem was detected inside so-called "core switches" installed by Huawei. These devices are the proverbial stable door for information, letting data in and out.
BT noticed these core switches were doing a lot of "chattering" — to whom they weren't sure, but it was concerning enough for the company to be hauled in by UK authorities.

'The Cell' called in to track down malicious code

The Government Communications Headquarters, the British intelligence and security organisation, established a Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (also known as "the Cell") to study "every piece of hardware or software destined for the UK market" at Huawei's expense.
The Cell also randomly sampled new hardware and software updates destined for UK infrastructure, looking for "malicious code".
In 2011, BT and British government security chiefs flew to Huawei's Chinese HQ in Shenzhen to tell the company they'd identified issues with its equipment.
The extent of the vulnerabilities exposed in BT infrastructure is not public, but the ABC understands it caused BT to replace many of the core switches.
The Brits' Huawei experience saw its Five Eyes security partners — the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — harden their approach to critical infrastructure.

Huawei loses out on NBN, 5G now looks unlikely

Australia banned Huawei from the National Broadband Network in 2012 and earlier this year the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency told the US Senate Intelligence Committee they would advise Americans against using Huawei products.
And Australia's recent intervention in the Solomon Islands, bumping Huawei as supplier of a 4,000-kilometre undersea communications cable between Honiara and Sydney, was a national security play camouflaged as foreign aid.
Australian security experts say 5G, which is predicted to start replacing fixed-line telephony, will be so powerful in reach and application it must be afforded maximum protection from sabotage and espionage.
China has an established track record of cyber attacks and Article 7 of China's National Intelligence Law states that "any organisation or citizen shall support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work according to law".

Huawei furiously asserts its independence from the Chinese state, but has not been able to shake suspicions from the Five Eyes intelligence partners.
"Forget Beijing's Belt and Road strategy of building ports, road and rail, the Chinese are actively colonising the fifth estate, which is cyber," a security source told the ABC.
"Security is not meant to be convenient, it's meant to protect."
And Huawei, which has one of the few high-functioning, enterprise-level 5G networks, will remain on the outer.
For Malcolm Turnbull it is a terrible dilemma.
The Prime Minister wants to improve relations with Beijing but knows that denying 5G entry to Huawei, one of China's greatest international success stories, will put that mission in further jeopardy.