TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A public e-petition has been launched on the Australian House of Representatives website calling for the Australian government to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Petition number E1120 reads: “We […] ask the House to request the Government of Australia to accord full diplomatic recognition to the Republic of China on Taiwan." The petition has collected 4,713 signatures at the time of writing.
The petition also states the reasoning behind the request, calling Taiwan a “substantial trading partner of Australia," a "modern liberal democracy with a population approaching 24 million people" and a "beacon for democracy and the rule of law in the East Asian region." The author claims it is right and just that "Taiwan be accorded full diplomatic recognition by all democracies and freedom loving nations," asserting that, in reality, "there is one China and one Taiwan.”
The petition will close on Nov. 20. at 11.59 p.m. AEST. It will then be presented to the House of Representatives by the Chair of the Petitions Committee or another MP if the petition's creator requests it. The question will then be discussed by relevant members of the House.
E-petitions must first be vetted by the Australian Petitions Committee before being made available for the public to sign for a period of four weeks. Only Australian citizens may sign a petition, but there is no minimum limit of signatures required for a petition to be considered.
Even if signatures, widespread popularity, and media attention raise the profile of an issue, it may still be tabled in Parliament, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The outcome of the discussion of the petition will be made available on the House's e-petitions website.
On Oct. 16, some 370,000 people called on the government to declare a climate emergency. This was the most signatures ever garnered for an Australian e-petition.
The petition calling for the government to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan follows similar ones initiated in Germany and the US earlier this year. The German and US petitioning processes, however, are distinct from Australia's, with minimum thresholds of 50,000 and 100,0000 signatures, respectively.
The petition was submitted by a Mr. Gavan Duffy. It is unknown whether this a pseudonym paying tribute to prominent 20th-century Australian Judge Frank Gavan Duffy.
A growing number of Australians believe the Chinese Communist Party is employing tactics such as inducements, threats, and espionage to influence their government, according to AP. This may be a motivating factor behind the increasing public support for stronger diplomatic ties with Taiwan.