Today host Lisa Wilkinson clashes with a very unsettled Malcolm Turnbull on live television.

Less than 24 hours after announcing a one-off refugee resettlement deal with the U.S. alongside Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, a flustered Malcolm Turnbull fronted Today co-host, Lisa Wilkinson.

Fresh from a breezy interview with rival show, Seven’s Sunrise, the Prime Minister was startled by the seasoned journalist’s approach on Monday morning, and appeared to shuffle uncomfortably while stumbling over his words.

The fiery interview ignited when Wilkinson probed Mr Turnbull on how many refugees would be involved in the deal, which will see detainees on Manus Island and Nauru relocated to the U.S.

 The fiery interview ignited when Wilkinson probed Mr Turnbull on how many refugees would be involved in the deal. (Image: Channel Nine)

“We have not set a number on it,” Mr Turnbull said, explaining: “The Americans will assess the refugees from a security and health point of view as referred to them ... but ... a substantial number would be eligible for resettlement in United States.”


How many "substantial" means remained unclear, prompting Wilkinson to cite statistics that some 1600 people are currently in detention.

But all the Prime Minister was willing to offer was: “I have said a substantial number that would be eligible."

When Wilkinson clarified, “Is it more or less than 1000?”, Mr Turnbull became visibly disgruntled, firing back: “Thanks very much for the interrogation."

Despite her attempts, Mr Turnbull remained steadfast that, while the deal was “hugely important”, the number of refugees relocated would be "a matter for the United States" to decide, and one that he could not provide approximate figures on.

LISTEN: Mamamia's Mia Freedman sits down with Lisa Wilkinson for No Filter. (Post continues...)

Controversially, the Prime Minister avoided discussing the matter with President-elect Donald Trump last week, despite covering a profusion of topics during their phone call.

“It’s because we deal with one administration at a time,” Mr Turnbull said.

“There’s only one President of the United States at any time. Until January 20 when Donald Trump is inaugurated the President is Barack Obama.”

Again, the explanation was inadequate for Wilkinson, who countered: “You did talk to Donald Trump and other issues came up. Why isn’t this important enough?”

“You don’t discuss confidential matters with one administration with a future administration. Look, it’s fairly straightforward," Mr Turnbull concluded.

The interview wrapped up on frosty terms, with the Prime Minister assuring viewers that a Trump administration will not hinder "our mutual and respective humanitarian and national security objectives".

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