The focus over the last seven days moved squarely back to Canberra and the negotiations in the Senate as the government attempts to get a raft of election commitments and budget cuts through. Palmer United Party Leader Clive Palmer was at the eye of the storm and leading coverage on radio and TV as his party eventually did deals with the government on the carbon tax and FOFA reforms, while the mining tax and other budget cuts remain held up. The media remains fascinated by the Senate and its new balance of power senators. Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator Ricky Muir’s statement of semi-independence from PUP moving him into the top five for the week as he kept his cards close to his chest on how he would vote. Fellow PUP Senator Jacqui Lambie and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon stayed well up in the news as well, with Xenophon clearly enjoying his renewed relevance after three years of having to watch Lower House Independents have all the fun. The deteriorating conditions in the Middle East, as well as the continuing focus on Australians either fighting in the region or promoting jihad in other areas, pushed Foreign Minister Julie Bishop up the list. The Senate and international issues dominated to such an extent that the premiers were almost invisible this week. Only Queensland's Campbell Newman maintained his normal level of coverage -- plenty of that had to do with Newman's long-running battle with Clive Palmer.

Crikey Political Index: July 10-16