The Australian chairman of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has hit back at claims by a Labor MP that his company is effectively controlled by Beijing and poses a national security risk.

The strong defence by chairman Jon Lord followed an attack on the company by Labor’s Michael Danby in Federal Parliament. It comes as Parliament considers whether Huawei should be permitted to participate in the construction of Australia’s 5G mobile network, due next year.

In Danby’s attack, he said: “Huawei and ZTE must report to a Communist Party cell at the top of their organisations” and added: “Let me issue a clarion call to this Parliament: Australians 5G network must not be sold to these telcos.”

Huawei’s John Lord said Danby was wrong and his company would do all it could to assure authorities it was not a risk. He said Huawei was owned by its employees – the Chinese government did not own any shares.

Lord added that Huawei would be willing to give Australian intelligence agencies oversight of its operations, as it has done in the UK.

Other commentators have noted that Danby appeared confused about the nature of the planned 5G network, which is not being “sold” to Huawei or any other operator. The work in question will presumably be contested by telcos and operators like Huawei, Sweden’s Ericsson and Australia’s Telstra and Optus.