High-profile lawyer Peter Russo is running for Labor at next year’s state election, after a career defending a terror suspect and disgraced MPs.

The lawyer who represented acquitted terror suspect Mohamed Haneef and controversial former federal speaker Peter Slipper is running as a Labor candidate at next year’s Queensland election.

Peter Russo also last year defended disgraced former MP Scott Driscoll, after he quit the ruling Liberal National Party before it could expel him.

The high-profile lawyer is running in the south Brisbane seat of Sunnybank.

He is one of 40 candidates who have been preselected to run for Labor, which has just eight members in the 89-seat parliament.

The Russo Lawyers principal said his firm would continue to represent Mr Driscoll.

“It won’t be difficult, because it’s our job to represent people and not to judge them,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Mr Russo stood in parliament on behalf of Driscoll in November to plead his innocence after his client was fined $90,000 for dishonest business dealings.

The LNP government’s attitude towards the judiciary prompted him to run.

“The attacks on the judiciary, the lack of understanding of the separation of powers and the attacks on lawyers themselves,” said Mr Russo, who defended Dr Haneef in 2007 and Mr Slipper last year.

Former education minister Stirling Hinchliffe is running in the once traditionally Labor seat of Sandgate while maxillofacial surgeon Anthony Lynham is taking on Assistant Health Minister Chris Davis, another doctor, in Stafford.

Defeated Senator Mark Furner is running in Ferny Grove, after union factions helped him win preselection despite his failure to garner sufficient support from Labor branches.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk downplayed suggestions that unions are wielding too much power, adding Senator Furner didn’t get preferential treatment.

“This is a matter for the Labor party and everybody goes through the processes,” she said.

“He has experience, and as I said, we need experience in our team.”

Defeated former Bligh government minister Kate Jones is still being courted to run again against Premier Campbell Newman in her former electorate of Ashgrove.