AUSTIN, Texas — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and an Australian politician have traded barbs on Twitter after Cruz criticized an Australian territory’s vaccination and reopening plans.

Michael Gunner, chief minister of Australia’s Northern Territory, imposed a strict vaccine mandate last week. The mandate requires all workers, public and private, to get at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by mid-November, or they will be fined $5,000 and will not be able to go to work.

“If your job includes interacting with members of the public then you need to get the jab,” Gunner said during the announcement. “If you work in hospitality, you need to get the jab. If you work in retail, or in a supermarket, you need to get the jab.”

In a tweet after the announcement, Cruz called the action “tyranny,” expressing his affinity with Australia, which he called “the Texas of the Pacific.”

“The Covid tyranny of (Australia’s) current government is disgraceful & sad,” Cruz tweeted. “Individual liberty matters. I stand with the people of #Australia.”

On Sunday night, Gunner struck back, tweeting that nearly 70,000 Texans have died from COVID-19, while none have died in the Northern Territory.


“We’ve done whatever it takes to protect the Territory. That’s kept us safe AND free,” Gunner tweeted. “We have been in lock down for just eight days in 18 months. Our businesses and schools are all open. Did you know that?”

Gunner’s tweet currently has about 25,000 likes. Cruz’s tweet has under 3,000 likes.

“We don’t need your lectures, thanks mate. You know nothing about us. And if you stand against a life-saving vaccine, then you sure as hell don’t stand with Australia. I love Texas (go Longhorns) but when it comes to COVID, I’m glad we are nothing like you.”