DeSantis questions US diplomatic relationship with 'off-the-rails' Australia over military COVID lockdowns

DeSantis said Australia is 'not a free country' and compared it to communist China

Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., questioned Tuesday if the United States should rethink its diplomatic relationship with Australia given its strict, military-enforced COVID-19 lockdowns.

Speaking at the International Boat Builders’ Exhibition and Conference in Tampa, DeSantis touched on his own state's response to the virus, saying, "I really believe that if we had not done what we did during the last year and a half to keep the state open, to protect people’s jobs, to protect our small businesses, to protect our kids being able to go to school — if we had not done that, a lot of these other states wouldn’t have followed.

"And who knows where we would be right now?" he asked.

"You say, like, ‘It can’t happen here,'" DeSantis continued. "You know, you guys, look what’s going on in Australia right now. You know, they’re enforcing, after a year and a half, they’re still enforcing lockdowns by the military."

"That’s not a free country. It’s not a free country at all. In fact, I mean, I wonder why we would still have the same diplomatic relations when they’re doing that. Is Australia freer than China, communist China, right now? I don’t know. The fact that that’s even a question tells you something has gone dramatically off the rails with some of this stuff."

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Many videos have gone viral in recent weeks depicting large protests in Sydney and Melbourne against lockdowns in the country, as well as instances of police cracking down on individual offenders.

Authorities are utilizing an app that combines facial recognition and geolocation to enforce quarantine rules in South Australia, according to The Atlantic.