Former prime minister Tony Abbott and billionaire Michael Hintze (Image: Shutterstock/Alan Davidson)

Rupert Murdoch and his influence on climate politics are front and centre of debate right now but there is a second, less well-known Australian billionaire operating from afar who has used his money and access to back conservative political causes. His name is Michael Hintze.

Hintze is a leading free marketeer and sceptic of the role of carbon emissions in climate change. He is a Liberal Party donor. He also has a long-running business relationship with Angus Taylor, Scott Morrison’s minister in charge of emissions reduction. Hintze is also a conservative Catholic who has links to former prime minister Tony Abbott and now gaoled Cardinal George Pell, both of whom are climate change denialists -- with Abbott trotting out his denialism at a conservative US think tank today.

Taylor’s office denies that he has discussed climate issues with Hintze, while Abbott has declined to answer. Both though have led Coalition attacks on the idea of government support for renewable energy. Hintze has declined to say whether or not he has discussed climate policy with Taylor or Abbott. In emailed answers he told Inq he donates funds to parties he believes are “best for the country” and that “no influence is sought”.