The negotiation work for the PM and Senate Leader Eric Abetz becomes a constant from this week on as they face the reality of having to negotiate with not just the Palmer United Party, but camera-shy Motoring Enthusiast Ricky Muir, ultra-libertarian LDP Senator David Leyonhjelm, Family First’s Bob Day, plus of course the already resident DLP’s John Madigan and independent Nick Xenophon. Only Muir of the new bunch made this week’s list. PUP leader Clive Palmer actually received more television coverage than the PM in the wake of his media appearance with climate change activist Al Gore, seeming set to achieve his stated ambition of no carbon price and no Direct Action, while also coming off as a convert to taking action on climate change -- a pretty impressive political dance, leading to media speculation about whether he was effectively now the de facto opposition leader, or even the de facto prime minister? The main movers behind Palmer, aside from the previously mentioned Eric Abetz, were Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, who once again drew ire from the press gallery by refusing to say anything at all about reports of two asylum seeker boats heading for Australia and potentially in trouble, and Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews, who continued the open discussion about reforming the welfare system, the focus this week on a massive rationalisation of the number and types of payments.

Crikey Political Index: June 26 to July 2