FACT CHECK: Did Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison Say Flood Victims Should Be ‘Grateful’ For Government Assistance?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a news chyron claiming Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said flood victims should be “grateful” for government assistance.

Verdict: False

The image featured in the tweet has been digitally altered. There is no evidence Morrison made the remark.

Fact Check: 

Australia experienced devastating flooding along its eastern coast in early March, prompting the government to declare a national emergency, according to Reuters. The government has been sharply criticized for their handling of the crisis, with emergency services being overwhelmed and unable to keep up with demand, The New York Times reported.

The Facebook image, which features a screenshot of a tweet, shows Morrison speaking while an alleged chyron beneath him reads, “PM: Flood victims should be grateful for government assistance.” Morrison also allegedly said flood victims were “weaponizing their trauma” against the government, according to the alleged tweet. (RELATED: Does The Australian Government’s COVIDSafe App Track Users’ Locations?)

There is no evidence that Morrison made these statements or that the chyron is genuine. The image featured in the post appears to be from a March 21 press conference the prime minister gave about “The South East Queensland City Deal,” an infrastructure investment package. Check Your Fact reviewed a transcript of his March 21 remarks, as well as his previous remarks about the flood, but found nothing resembling the statements attributed to him in the Facebook post.

The alleged chyron featured in the post matches those from Australia’s ABC News. However, Check Your Fact reviewed ABC News’s website and video coverage of the floods and found no evidence the news outlet aired such a chyron. ABC Communications later tweeted that it “appeared” the image has been “altered.”

“As @JoshButler says, it appears the caption on this image has been altered,” reads the tweet. Butler, a reporter for The Guardian Australia, also tweeted out the genuine chyrons used for Morrison’s conference, none of which match the Facebook post.

“The caption on a screen grab from the ABC NEWS channel was altered,” said Sally Jackson, a spokesperson for ABC News, in an email to Check Your Fact. “As soon as it came to our attention the ABC reported and escalated the matter with Twitter.”

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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