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Did Scott Morrison say flood victims were "weaponising their trauma" against the government?

The viral claim appears to show a source - but not everything is as seems.

CLAIM: Prime Minister Scott Morrison said flood victims were "weaponising their trauma" against the government, and they should be "grateful" for government assistance.


The claim has come from Twitter account @THE_Russell, whose bio declares that people should beware of "humour, parody & sarcasm."


The original tweet supposedly shows a screenshot of a press conference with the PM, taken from the ABC.


We can determine that because of the lower thirds (also known as chyrons) seen - although the ABC News logo is cropped out.


Additionally, the PM did hold a press conference today with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, along with a number of South-East mayors.


Thirdly, the ticker/flipper at the very bottom of the image displays the headline "Lismore residents dump flood wreckage near Kirribilli House" which tells us that the screenshot was from today - as that happened this morning.


But what about the middle line?


"PM: Flood victims should be grateful for government assistance."


Seems odd to have that under the headline 'COST OF LIVING,' right?


That's because it's not real.


See below for a comparison of the faked lower third with a mock-up by 6 News using actual font that the ABC uses (ABCSans) as well as the actual lower third used by the ABC this morning.

So, what about the supposed quote about flood victims were "weaponising their trauma" against the government?


A transcript of the entire press conference broadcast on the ABC is available through the website Tveeder - so we decided to copy-and-paste that into Google Docs.


Using their 'find' tool for words, we searched up the following terms to see if any were used by the PM or anyone at the press conference:

  • 'Weaponising'

  • 'Trauma'

  • 'Grateful'

  • 'Assistance'

None of those words were seen in the transcript.


In addition, the words 'flood(s)' & 'government' were used 12 & 16 times respectively, but neither of those led us to the supposed quote.

This, however, is what the PM did say:


"These floods are the worst we've ever seen in the Northern Rivers, and I can understand the frustration. But what I can assure you is that the commitment, both in people, Defence Forces, support for the State Government's package of measures, but the direct support which, has already seen, as I say, $1.7 billion in to support the people of New South Wales, and the majority of that is going up into the Northern Rivers area, means we'll be there with them to build back, and to ensure that they can reclaim what was there before this 1-in-500-year flood."


"I think the politicisation of natural disasters is very unfortunate. Everyone is just working together to do the best they can to support people who are in terrible need."


"My Government is doing that, the state governments are doing that. Local councils are doing that. We're all working together to help people. And I don't think the politicisation of that is a helpful theme."


While the bio of the account that made this claim does - as we mentioned earlier - mention humour & sarcasm, we've chosen not to give this a "Humour/Satire" rating, due to the non-obvious faked ABC lower third, and the significant amount of people believing it is true.


RATING: FALSE - Scott Morrison never said what was claimed, and the ABC did not broadcast part of the lower third used in the viral image

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