The Observer has a long, storied history of documenting the people out there who take pleasure in blasting U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Now, we’d like to introduce you Michael Gunner, the chief minister of Australia’s Northern Territory.
On Sunday, Gunner joined the crowd.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Gunner shot back at Cruz, who had days earlier criticized Gunner and the Northern Territory over COVID-19 vaccine mandates for retail, hospitality, gyms and other places of employment that involved interacting with customers. Violating the mandate could result in $5,000 fine.
On Oct. 13, Cruz tweeted that he “love[s] the Aussies,” praised their “history of rugged independence” and added that he’s always “said Australia is the Texas of the Pacific.” (If you’re wondering what that means, your guess is as good as ours.)
“[W]hen it comes to COVID, I’m glad we are nothing like you.” — Michael Gunner, Australian minister
But Cruz also offered criticism. “The Covid tyranny of their current government is disgraceful & sad,” the U.S. Senator went on. “Individual liberty matters … I stand with the people of #Australia.” (A poll conducted by the University of Sydney and the University of Western Australia found that three-quarters of Australians “support a government requirement to be vaccinated in order to work, travel or study.”)
Three days later, Gunner returned fire. “Here are some facts,” he wrote in the statement. “Nearly 70,000 Texans have tragically died from COVID. There have been zero deaths in the [Northern] Territory. Did you know that?”
— Michael Gunner (@fanniebay) October 18, 2021
Gunner explained that the Northern Territory had an obligation to protect “vulnerable communities and the oldest continuous living culture on the planet.”
Throughout 18 months, the Northern Territory has had a grand total eight days in lockdown, Gunner said. “Our businesses and schools are all open,” he clarified.
The minister added, “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 Australians.”
Gunner wrapped up his statement: “I love Texas (go Longhorns), but when it comes to COVID, I’m glad we are nothing like you.”
The list of people who have roasted Ted Cruz grows by the day: Seth Rogen, Elliot Page, Mark Cuban and Ron Perlman, to name a few. Now, we can to the list a name few Texans knew until Sunday: Michael Gunner.
At time of publication, Cruz hadn’t replied to Gunner. Who knows? He might be on vacation.