A petition submitted to the Australian House of Representatives is gathering signatures to urge Canberra to establish formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Petition EN1120 was submitted by Gavan Duffy to the Australian Parliament’s e-petition Web site, where it had collected more than 7,400 signatures as of last night.

Only citizens or residents of Australia are eligible to sign the petition.

Although Australia “does not currently maintain formal diplomatic relations with the Republic of China [ROC],” the two countries have de facto embassies and the ROC is a “substantial trading partner of Australia,” the petition says.

The petition describes the ROC as “a beacon for democracy and the rule of law in the East Asian region,” where it has an important role in defense and security.

Therefore, it is “right and just” that the ROC “be accorded full diplomatic recognition by all democracies and freedom loving nations,” it says.

The online petition at bit.ly/349Er5K is to close on Nov. 20 and then be presented by the Petitions Committee — or a member of parliament, if Duffy so requests — to the House of Representatives.

The minister who is responsible for the issue raised by the petition would then send a response to the House of Representatives and the creator of the petition.

Unlike in Germany and the US, where two similar petitions have been launched this year, there is no signature threshold the petition has to reach for the issue to be debated or replied to in Australia.

On Sept. 11, German Michael Kreuzberg launched a petition demanding that Berlin establish diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Within a month, the petition had garnered nearly 56,000 signatures, pushing it well past the threshold of 50,000 required for it to be debated in the Bundestag.

A similar petition, which urged the US government to recognize Taiwan as an independent country, was submitted to a White House petition Web site on Oct. 7. It surpassed the 100,000 signatures needed for the White House to issue a response within a week.