Mr Raab said the British government was confident it could protect the core of the network with the safeguards it put in place.
“We took a technical approach to this, we looked at the supply chains, we looked at the security risk and the resilience of our infrastructure and indeed those of our allies, and we took an independent decision,” he said.
“The approach, as you’ll know, is that we’re confident that we can protect the core and cap, to the tune of 35 per cent, the access that high-risk vendors have at the periphery as well as ban high-risk vendors from any of the highly sensitive locations.”
Mr Raab said there was nothing in the decision that would inhibit the sharing of intelligence with the Five Eyes alliance of Britain, Australia, the United States, Canada and New Zealand.
“There’s nothing in the approach that we’re taking that would have an impact on, for example, the sharing on sensitive data,” he said.
Mr Raab raised concern about the “market failure” that had resulted in a few companies dominating the supply of equipment for the next-generation networks.
“This ought to be an area of collaboration in the future, not just commercially, but amongst our governments, to make sure we never find ourselves in that position again,” he said.
Mr Raab’s visit comes as Britain has announced a significant policy to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles with a ban on new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars within 15 years.
Asked whether Britain would pressure Australia to follow Britain’s lead in signing up to a net zero emissions target by 2050, Mr Raab said “obviously it’s going to be a team effort right across the board”.
“We’re hoping to lead by example with our commitment to get emissions down to net zero by 2050, but there’s a whole range of other things we can talk about and we’ve got to try to do is make this a win-win,” he said.
“So we’ve had a really good constructive conversation about it and we’ll continue to have that conversation with our Australian friends, but also all of the other big players in that debate.”
In their meeting, Mr Raab and Senator Payne also talked up the prospect of striking a free-trade deal between the two countries following Britain’s exit from the European Union. Senator Payne said she was confident Australia could negotiate a trade agreement with the UK at the same time as it discussed a separate deal with the EU.
Anthony is foreign affairs and national security correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.