Israel Folau says bushfires are God's judgement for legalising same-sex marriage and abortion, & more in News in 5.

With AAP.

 1. Israel Folau says bushfires are God’s judgement for legalising same-sex marriage and abortion.

Sacked Wallabies star Israel Folau claims the bushfires that have devastated the nation and left six Australians dead are God’s punishment for legalising abortion and same-sex marriage.

Dumped by Rugby Australia after warning homosexuals and other sinners they will go to hell unless they repent, Folau has doubled down on the stance in a video sermon posted to the Truth of Jesus Christ Church Sydney.

During the 10-minute recording, the 30-year-old says the timing of the bushfire crisis is no coincidence but only a taste of God’s judgement should nothing change.

israel folau
Image: Facebook.

"I've been looking around at the events that's been happening in Australia, this past couple of weeks, with all the natural disasters, the bushfires and the droughts," he says.

He then reads from the Book of Isaiah in the Bible, The Lord's Devastation of the Earth:

"The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left."

Folau links the passage to the twin disasters of bushfire and drought and, in turn, the legalising of same-sex marriage and abortion.


"The events that have happened here in Australia, in the last couple of years - God's word says for a man and a woman to be together ... they've come and changed this law," he says.

"Abortion, it's okay now to murder, kill infants, unborn children."

Folau says he believes the scripture is talking to Australia.

"Look how rapid these bushfires these droughts, all these things have come in a short period of time. Do you think it's a coincidence or not?

"God is speaking to you guys. Australia you need to repent and take these laws and turn it back to what is right."

He said same-sex marriage and abortion were "evil" in the eyes of God.

Folau says he is sharing the message "out of love", even though he believes Christians are "shut out" when they spread their message.

The controversy which saw the dual international's $4 million contract torn up in April was his second run-in with Rugby Australia after being reprimanded for a similar social media post in 2018.

2. Residents are facing an anxious wait as NSW bushfire rages.

People living near a huge out-of-control blaze on Sydney's northwestern outskirts face an anxious wait to see if a sprawling fire can be contained amid a forecast of blisteringly hot, dry conditions.

The Gospers Mountain fire at Wollemi National Park which has been burning for weeks, has already consumed an area of more than 119,000 hectares, destroyed at least six homes, and is still spreading.


Residents in surrounding areas have been clearing up outside their homes while firefighters backburn in a bid to save properties threatened by the blaze.

Hawkesbury Mayor Barry Calvert said people have done all they can, and now face an anxious "sit and wait" situation.

"People are waiting for this week to be over I think," he told AAP.

"We have two or three days this week that are going to be 38C-40C and strong winds.

"I think they've done everything they can do and it's just now a matter of holding (the fire) back if they can. People are just walking around hoping for the best. There's not a lot more that can be done."

The Rural Fire Service has said the fire, which was at "watch and act" alert on Sunday afternoon, is unlikely to be under control before weather conditions deteriorate early next week.

People have been advised to have their fire plan ready and to be prepared to evacuate, the mayor said.

There is "a lot of anxiety" because of how long the fire has been burning and fears it could spread into more built-up areas, he added.

There are around a dozen homes on the fringes of the park but there are concerns the blaze could travel as far as St Albans which has a population of around 200 people.

"(Firefighters) couldn't control it because it's in deep bush and now they're just trying to manage it as best they can so there's a lot of anxiety because if it gets out again then it's very hard to stop it," said Mr Calvert.

While the coming days will be tough, local people are "very proud" of the work done by Rural Fire Service volunteers, some of whom are working 20-hour days to try and protect the area, he added.

3. The community is protesting against the location of a new Sydney cruise ship terminal.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison is being urged to reconsider Garden Island as the spot for a new Sydney cruise ship terminal amid claims one at Yarra Bay would destroy a centuries-old Aboriginal heritage site.

Garden Island was named the most suitable location for a new terminal to solve the city's cruise ship crisis in a 2017 report by former navy officer and NSW Liberal leader Peter Collins.

Its necessity is due to the fact a single berth at Circular Quay doesn't meet industry needs and many modern liners can't pass under Sydney Harbour Bridge to dock at White Bay.

However Garden Island was ruled out a year after Mr Collins' report by then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said it would remain a naval base.

Instead, the NSW government is looking at the viability of two potential sites at Molineaux Point and Yarra Bay at Port Botany.

Residents, state and federal Labor MPs and the local Aboriginal Land Council met at Yarra Bay on Sunday to protest the potential development.

"Why would you go and destroy this significant Aboriginal heritage, this bay that would have to be dredged again and this local community when the infrastructure already exists in Sydney Harbour," Labor's Matt Thistlewaite told reporters.

State MP Michael Daley said the decision not to use Garden Island was an example of "political bastardry" and building a new terminal at Yarra Bay was a far more expensive option for taxpayers.

He's calling on the government to make the contents of Mr Collins' report public, saying the fiasco was again showing the government's habit of "secrecy and financial fumbling".

Chairwoman of La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council Noeleen Timbery told reporters the community did not want a cruise ship terminal anywhere in the bay.

"We've watched as our cultural landscape has been developed and redeveloped and developed again, so our question is really simple, when are our cultural rights going to be respected because I reckon that should start now," she said.


"Over the last one-and-a-half years not one Aboriginal person has been spoken to, this is a sham consultation."

However chief executive of Port Authority NSW Philip Holliday says it's still early days, with his organisation and the government only at the stage of preparing a business case for potential terminals.

He's encouraging those with concerns to come forward so their views can be included in the information that will help the government make it's final decision.

"People are understandably concerned at the moment that we don't appear to be saying much but it genuinely is because we're very early on," he told AAP.

"We are genuinely interested in questions rather than trying to make up answers."

Mr Holliday says the business case is expected to be finished around the middle of 2020 and that the government will make a decision in the second half of the year.

4. Kiwis chill on republic as the Prince of Wales visits New Zealand.

New Zealand might have a next-generation leader but Kiwis don't seem in a rush to explore republicanism as they host a royal visit.

That includes prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who previously flirted with support for breaking away from Great Britain.

Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cambridge, arrived in Auckland on Sunday afternoon to begin a week-long tour of New Zealand.


They'll spend time in Auckland and head north to Waitangi before heading to Christchurch and the whale-watching town of Kaikoura.

The visit to the Bay of Islands - home of the country's founding Treaty of Waitangi document - is the most noteworthy item on a long agenda.

Kiwis are currently ruminating on the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's arrival on the Endeavour, making their visit to Waitangi a symbolic occasion.

The royal couple will also check-in on Christchurch, seven years after the pair visited following the devastating 2011 earthquake.

Beyond that, the greatest interest is in whether New Zealanders are enamoured by the soon-to-be king, or disengaged.

"We think there will be very little interest," Lewis Holden, head of New Zealand's republican movement said.

"He struggles to get any support.

"The reality is that these tours for him are about publicity-gathering, and at the expense of the New Zealand taxpayer I might add."

Holden claims latent support exists among Kiwis for breaking with the monarchy.

"From our own polling we've got about 56 per cent of the population in support," he said.

"What we have picked up in our last round of polling is that it's younger people that support a republic again.

"There was a bit of blip a few years ago when Will and Kate and then Harry and Meghan getting married but it seems to have died down. It was a bit of a bubble.

"Everyone loves a wedding and it was a party. But this is about New Zealand's constitutional future, not about a couple of people getting married."

Sean Palmer, Monarchy New Zealand chair, laughs off the prospect of a breakaway.

"There's a debate? I hadn't noticed," he said.

Palmer's nonchalance is grounded by the positions of New Zealand's political parties: none of the four major parties support becoming a republic.

The Greens come closest, with a policy for a referendum that aims "how best to honour the Treaty of Waitangi".

Prior to her election, Ardern said she saw New Zealand becoming a republic at some point in her lifetime - but has since clarified it's not on her agenda.


The conservative opposition National party echo her words exactly, with a spokesperson saying it's "not on our agenda".

Government minority partners NZ First don't have an official position - or a comment.

Palmer believes the lack of support is due to a system that works.

"Constitutional monarchies tend to be among the most democratic, among the most committed to human rights, among the most tolerant societies," he said.

"And when you drill down a little further, the countries that share our royal family tend to be even more successful.

"That's not something we should sneeze at."

Palmer, who rejected the republican poll, forecast warm support from Kiwis across the country for the visiting Prince and Duchess.

"They'll have a very positive reception," he said.

"The media in New Zealand generally try to talk down public expectations, convinced that they can stir up republican sympathy.

"I'm pleased that it's happening. I think it's good news for New Zealand in general when, whenever the royal family come down here, it's good for the country."

Press Association royal correspondent Tony Jones travelled with Prince Charles on his trip to India this month.

He said the scheduling of the visit showed the importance of Commonwealth countries to the UK, especially in light of Brexit.

"Commonwealth countries are important to the UK and especially important if I use the B-Word, Brexit, because England is looking for new opportunities to make more friends in the world," he said.

"They've got this ready made group of countries, Commonwealth countries, and New Zealand is a key one of those."

Jones said he was unsure whether Kiwis would be clamouring for a sight of the prince and duchess during the public outings but the royal family knew they had to put the effort in.

"You have to engage with these in public, be seen in New Zealand, talking to New Zealanders, otherwise that bond will lapse between the monarchy and the Kiwis," he said.

"It's no secret that Harry, Meghan, William and Kate are more popular around the world, and you could probably say in the UK too.


"Maybe Charles has to work a little bit harder to get his message across, to renew these bonds.

"It might be easier for younger members of the family just to turn up and they know they'll get instant coverage, crowds at the barriers. For Charles and Camilla, they might have to put a bit more effort in."

5. Ten Western Australian towns break November heat records.

Ten towns across Western Australia have on Sunday broken their previous records for the hottest November day registered, the Bureau of Meteorology reports.

Norseman, in the state's Goldfields region, sweltered through 45.4 degrees, three degrees higher than the 42.4C it endured in 2007.

Salmon Gums, north of Esperance, followed with a top of 45.0 degrees, with Kalgoorlie (44.7), Mount Magnet (44.3) and Leinster (44.0) next on the list.

Laverton (43.4), Meekatharra (43.0), Newdegate (42.6), Lake Grace (41.8) and Jacup (41.1) reached moderately lower marks but were all still higher than the 40.4C registered on Perth on Saturday.

The capital's peak made for its hottest November day since records began in 1897.

The heatwave conditions have prompted total fire bans in most of the state, with several bushfire warnings issued throughout the day for a fire sparked near the Shire of Esperance town of Cascade.