Barnaby Joyce directs New England preferences to One Nation candidate living in Brisbane

The One Nation candidate preferenced by the deputy prime minister, 巴纳比·乔伊斯, in his regional 新南威尔士 electorate is a salesman from inner-city Brisbane.

Joyce has directed preferences in his ultra-safe New England seat to One Nation, telling a candidate’s forum on Monday night that the far-right party had changed.

“The party of 10, 15 years ago is not the party of today,“ 他说 at the forum.

“Things change. Mollify.”

Almost nothing is known about One Nation’s candidate in the seat, Richard Thomas.

He did not respond to the invitation to attend the candidate forum and didn’t provide a photo for its promotional material. He is also not listed as a candidate on the party’s website.

Held in the regional NSW town of Tamworth, the forum would have been quite a drive for Thomas.

The Guardian has confirmed that he lives in West End, a trendy inner-city suburb on the Brisbane River, which is about seven hours’ drive away from the electorate from New England.

A spokesperson for One Nation said that Thomas lived in Queensland, but was unable to provide any biographical details, other than that he worked in “sales”.

There is no requirement for candidates to live in the division that they are contesting.

The Guardian had previously revealed One Nation has a series of candidates in the federal election who live thousands of kilometres from the seats they are running in.

After it committed to running candidates in all 151 electorates before the election, the party was still scrambling to find candidates just hours before nominations closed last month.

It told one prospective candidate to leave the electorate he was running in “blank” on his form, saying the party didn’t “require you to do anything or campaign at all”. The party’s candidates include a husband and wife running in separate seats in NSW and Victoria, and a resident of regional Queensland running in the inner-west Sydney seat of Grayndler.

The party’s candidate in the north Queensland seat of Herbert lives in suburban Melbourne.

During Monday night’s forum, Joyce declined to say whether he had spoken to Thomas before directing his preferences to the candidate.

He explained the decision to preference One Nation by saying: “If I see … those decisions about a party’s platform are less likely to cause damage to my nation, then they are further up [the preferences].”

The Guardian has attempted to contact Joyce.