The hard graft in the Senate continues for the government, with Treasurer Joe Hockey holding one-on-one meetings with a number of crossbenchers in an attempt to get at least some of his budget measures through. The task still looks Herculean, conflicting agendas among the micro parties meaning that a concession on one measure to PUP senators could swing others away from supporting it. Rumblings of a double dissolution continue to roll around the halls of Parliament House, a prospect that undoubtedly PUP and to a lesser extent the Greens would relish. Whether it will be enough to scare other crossbenchers into line remains to be seen.

Fairfax’s poor taste and inflammatory Jewish cartoon pushed Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull up the list, as tensions rose around the world between supporters of the Israeli strikes on Gaza and increasingly strident critics following the UN school bombing. What’s clear is that this is one longstanding, seemingly intractable conflict between unhappy neighbours that will always get plenty of attention internationally compared to the scores of similar conflicts in other parts of the world.

Relationship counselling, the pill and the importance of being married (in his view) all pushed Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews up the list, signs of a possible compromise on the GP co-payment pushed Health Minister Peter Dutton up, while sackings in Motoring Enthusiast Senator Ricky Muir’s office launched the media-shy Muir back into the top 20.

Crikey Political Index: July 31 – August 6

When issues like asylum seekers and middle-east conflict are big in the news it seems to go very quiet on talkback these days, a very different situation to the response a year ago. Even budget negotiations have got too Byzantine for most callers to stay interested.

Talkback Top Five

It remains a three horse race on social media — Immigration Minister Scott Morrison back ahead of Treasurer Joe Hockey as criticism of the government’s asylum seeker policies leapt ahead of budget criticism once more.

Social Media Top Five

We should just put Justin in this spot every week, shouldn’t we? He is so endlessly fascinating with his naughty driving and celebrity biffos …

Comparison of media mentions