A $35,000 donation to the Liberal Party was made by Greg Mirabella in the lead up to wife Sophie’s attempt to be re-elected in Indi last year.
The Australian Electoral Commission’s 2015-16 annual financial disclosure returns were published on Wednesday, revealing the biggest financial backers who contributed to the Coalition’s $77 million in donations.
Mr Mirabella had made other smaller donations to the party in the past, but this was the first to be more than the $13,000 threshold where it must be disclosed.
He told The Border Mail he and Mrs Mirabella chose to spend the $35,000 to help her campaign.
“It was a very considered decision, it was a lot of money for a household, and it wasn’t done lightly,” Mr Mirabella said.
“I know Sophie’s capability and I’m prepared to put my money behind Sophie because of her track record and the person I know.”
The donation was made directly to the Liberal Party with the understanding it would come back to the candidate.
“I would presume that and more would have been spent on Sophie,” Mr Mirabella said.
The disclosure returns revealed the Liberal Party spent $50,000 with Wodonga company Dutch Media during the financial year.
Mrs Mirabella used a widespread print and television advertising campaign, including in The Border Mail, in her failed attempt to win the seat of Indi back from Cathy McGowan.
The Liberals were outspent by Ms McGowan’s volunteer donations, which were revealed in December as totalling $203,748.
Mr Mirabella said he believed Ms McGowan’s donations came from unions and other organisations, as well as Indi residents, so they needed to compete by holding Liberal Party events and raffles.
“Going into a campaign, you’re only guessing what an opponent will have,” he said.
“The money that was spent on Sophie’s campaign came from here, it came from the community.”
Reports suggested Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull donated as much as $2 million to his party's re-election fight, but it is now believed the donation must have come after June 30, meaning it will not be detailed until this time next year.
"My donations to the Liberal Party have been regular and generous and I would encourage others to do the same," he said. "And they've always been disclosed in accordance with the law."