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Lawyer Peter Russo to run in Sunnybank for Labor

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He stood and spoke on behalf of client Scott Driscoll as the former MP made a last ditch plea for mercy.

Now lawyer Peter Russo will stand against LNP MP Mark Stewart in the seat of Sunnybank.

Mr Russo, who has also defended Gold Coast doctor Mohamed Haneef and former federal Speaker Peter Slipper, said it was the "attacks on the judiciary" and the "lack of understanding of the separation of powers, the attacks on lawyers themselves" which prompted his foray into politics.

"I just think it was important that I had the opportunity to stand and I hope I can make a real difference," he said.

"...The end game is to win Sunnybank for Labor. It won't be easy, but I'm sure I've got the energy and the stamina to bring it up [to the government].

"I will never leave the law behind. It's always going to be a part of me and it's what got me here today."


He said his firm would continue to represent the Driscolls.

"Our job as defence lawyers is to represent people, not to judge them," he said.

Mr Russo is one of 40 candidates Labor has preselected so far as the party prepares to take on the "LNP army" in the next election.

Nurse Joe Kelly won preselection for Greenslopes, considered one of the most winnable Brisbane seats for Labor.

And police officer and mother-of-two Melissa McMahon will represent Labor in Albert.

Former MP Grace Grace won the preselection battle for Brisbane Central by overwhelmingly winning the popular vote and former minister Stirling Hinchliffe will contest Sandgate* at the next election.

Mark Furner, whose term as a senator finishes this year, will run in Ferny Grove after the factions pulled off a deal.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk was unapologetic about the candidate selection process.

"Mark Furner faced a rank and file preselection just like everybody else," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"Mark Furner has experience and, as I said, I need experience on my team.

"What we have said here today is that we are serious about modernising the Labor party.

"I have put all my energy and drive behind this to make sure we get the right mix of people."

Labor is yet to announce a candidate for Premier Campbell Newman's seat of Ashgrove.

Ms Palaszczuk said she was in talks with former MP Kate Jones, but nothing had been set in stone.

*Correction: Stirling Hinchliffe will contest Sandgate, not Stafford.