Australian lawmakers took to Twitter to school American critics of the country’s COVID-19 public health measures, pointing to how well they have worked to prevent deaths in comparison to policies in the U.S., where the death toll has been one of the worst in the world.
Since the pandemic began, Australia has enforced strict measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including some of the world’s longest lockdowns. Only 80% of those 16 years and over can be fully inoculated with the virus. In contrast, the U.S. has many states that have lifted COVID-19 restrictions despite having low vaccination rates.
Outspoken political commentator Candace Owens went as far as suggesting that the U.S. military should invade Australia because it has turned into a “police state,” comparing the country’s government to the regimes of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.
“When do we deploy troops to Australia? How can we invade Australia and liberate oppressed people living under totalitarian governments? When do we spend trillions of dollars to spread democracy in Australia?” the right wing pundit said on her Daily Wire TV show Friday night.
Owens’ rant is the latest condemnation of Australia’s COVID-19 measures by U.S. conservatives. Ted Cruz (Republican Senator) has criticised certain policies. Earlier this month, anti-vaccine protesters surprisingly focused on Australia’s vaccine mandate in a protest outside its consulate in New York City.
Criticizations on social media were met with approval by lawmakers down under. Michael Gunner, chief minister of Australia’s Northern Territory, took to Twitter to rebuke Cruz’s claim last week that the territory’s vaccine mandate places people under a “COVID tyrannyThank you.”
“We don’t need your lectures, thanks mate,” Gunner tweeted Sunday. “You know nothing about us. And if you stand against a lifesaving vaccine, then you sure as hell don’t stand with Australia.”
Gunner’s response also included a series of facts about the Northern Territory’s COVID-19 response. Mirroring language used by Cruz in his original tweet, Gunner concluded: “I love Texas (go Longhorns), but when it comes to COVID, I’m glad we are nothing like you.”
Cruz tweeted earlier that he stood with Australia in response to a Sky News Video in which Gunner announced that all workers who interact with the public need at least one dose COVID-19 vaccine. Otherwise, a penalty of AU$5,000 (roughly US$3,750) will be imposed.
Mark Bailey, who is a Queensland parliament member, lambasted Cruz via Twitter. He compared the death toll in Texas to that of Australia. “If you stood with us, you’d have learned from us,” Bailey said. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas, there have been 68,573 COVID-19 related deaths. Australia, however, has only reported 1,903.
Australia’s other social media users are ridiculed Owens on TwitterWhen local anti-epidemic efforts are criticized, they respond by showing images of their outdoor activities, like pristine and empty beaches.
Recent Lowy Institute surveyThe majority of Australians believe that their government has handled the pandemic well.