New Liberal MP Angus Taylor has been described as an asset to his party. News reports after his pre-selection for a country NSW seat in 2012 described the then candidate as ''smart'' and ''charming''.
Financial disclosure documents reveal Mr Taylor is also an uncommonly valuable – perhaps uniquely valuable – financial asset to his party.
New Hume Liberal MP Angus Taylor makes his maiden speech in parliament. Mr Taylor donated more than $150,000 to his party, more than any other MP. Photo: Michelle Burrell
The Liberal Party's annual dump of political revenue and donations, records a man named Angus Taylor, at an address in Sydney's Woollahra, who gave the Liberals $155,000 in five separate tranches in 2012-13.
A call to Mr Taylor's office revealed the generous giver was the same man. The Woollahra address was an investment property, Mr Taylor said, adding that he had lived in his electorate, near Goulburn, and had been there for a long time.
Mr Taylor, who won the safe Coalition seat of Hume at the September election by a margin of 11.5 per cent, concedes much of what he contributed to the party went towards his campaign including a car and petrol to get around the electorate, which is one of the largest in the country.
"We have to have money to run the campaign, before we necessarily fundraise," he said.
"The broader point is I did make a contribution to my campaign to fund the various things you do in a campaign.
"The biggest thing for me was getting out and meeting people across the electorate."
A spokeswoman for the NSW Liberal Party said of the $155,000 Mr Taylor contributed, $105,000 was a loan, which has since been repaid. The remaining $50,000 was used for "car, petrol and advertising, among other things".
Mr Taylor was endorsed by the previous MP for the rural seat, the long-serving Alby Schultz. The Nationals did not run a candidate.
''I am committed to the future of Hume," he said. "I am committed to the future of the Liberal Party and I'm committed to the future of this country.
''I have always made contributions to things I believe in.''
Mr Taylor's declaration of interests says he is a director of Gufee Pastoral and has financial interests in Growth Farms and Derwent Recruitment Associates. It also says he has a beneficial interest in the AJ & L Taylor Family Trust. He lists "livestock" as one of his assets valued at more than $7500.
A company search shows he is former director of Port Jackson Partners, Agriculture Managers Australia, Eastern Australia Agriculture and Farmsmart.
To put Mr Taylor's contribution in context, it is reasonably common for MPs to donate small amounts of money – typically about $2000 – to their party.
But Fairfax Media could find nobody on either side of federal politics who has given anything approaching Mr Taylor's contribution.
Coalition frontbenchers Julie Bishop, Barnaby Joyce and Warren Truss have all in the past given amounts ranging from $1500 to $5000. Last year, nearly every Labor MP and Senator gave $1650 to their party.
The next most generous MP – after Mr Taylor – in the current batch of federal MPs appears to be Malcolm Turnbull, who gave his party a total of $13,750 in four tranches across 2001-02 and 2003-04.
At a state level, former Victorian Labor MP Evan Thornley gave $50,000 to his party in 2009.
Last year, it appears that no other Liberal MP, besides Mr Taylor, gave their party more than the disclosure threshold of $12,100.
Sources close to the electorate said Mr Taylor visited "every nook and cranny" and ran an unusually prominent campaign in the area.
''The biggest thing for me was getting out and meeting people across the electorate,'' Mr Taylor said. ''Much of what I spent was on a car and petrol to get around the electorate.''
A Liberal colleague told Fairfax Media Mr Taylor was the ''best candidate you could get''.
''Angus put his money where his mouth is,'' the colleague added.
The colleague mentioned Mr Taylor's academic pedigree and study at Oxford University, work in agricultural investment and work as a political staffer for Barry O'Farrell when Mr Taylor was in his early 20s.
''Angus had great life experience, is financially very successful and has made the extraordinary commitment to the public good as wanting to make a public contribution as a local member,'' the colleague said.
''Don't read anything into the fact that, uniquely, he was prepared to put his money where his mouth was, with no fuss and no fancy.''