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PM urges Dreyfus to talk to AG

AAP logoAAP 17/10/2016

Malcolm Turnbull has suggested Labor frontbencher Mark Dreyfus "hold his nose" and consult the attorney-general about national security legislation.

In a series of testy question time exchanges in parliament on Monday, the prime minister said the shadow attorney-general liked to "engage in a sort of Guthrie Featherstone QC MP versus Rumpole" debate over Attorney-General George Brandis.

Mr Turnbull accused Mr Dreyfus of stirring up an issue about powers to revoke citizenship of dual citizen terrorists that risked taking his feud with Senator Brandis into an area where national security would be put at risk.

Mr Dreyfus claimed Senator Brandis said he had received advice from Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson that a dual citizenship law would survive a High Court challenge.

Mr Gleeson told a Senate inquiry last week his advice only related to an earlier draft, not the final bill.

It's been reported the first dual citizen facing loss of citizenship plans to challenge the law in the High Court.

Mr Turnbull said the disagreement between "these two learned gentlemen" could best be described as a "disturbance in the bar common room".

He said Mr Dreyfus should put aside his personal animosity, get on Australia's team and talk to the attorney-general if he had concerns about the legislation.

"I would suggest he holds his nose and does the unspeakable thing of talking to the attorney," he said.

Mr Turnbull, himself a lawyer, referred to the British legal drama Rumpole of the Bailey in which a crusty old hack routinely disagreed with his head of chambers.

"All of us understand that the shadow attorney-general likes to engage in a sort of Guthrie Featherstone QC MP versus Rumpole with the debate over the attorney-general," Mr Turnbull said.

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