The Liberal National Party candidate for Queensland’s Stafford by-election acknowledges he has a tough fight against Labor’s surgeon candidate.

Queensland’s premier kicked off the Stafford by-election campaign by praising Labor’s facial surgeon candidate and flagging tougher sentences to combat alcohol-fuelled violence.

Campbell Newman had conciliatory words for Labor’s Anthony Lynham, who is considered the favourite to win the north Brisbane seat.

“I only hear the most glowing reports about his surgical abilities. He is one of the top people in this state and arguably the nation,” he told reporters.

“Dr Lynham is a skilled surgeon and frankly, I think, the best place for Dr Lynham is to continue to work for Queenslanders like that.”

The Liberal National Party’s newly anointed candidate, Bob Andersen, a 33-year-old psychologist, acknowledged he had a tough fight to retain the seat, despite the government’s 7.1 per cent margin.

“The odds are against me but I’m willing to give it 100 per cent and leave it in the hands of the people of Stafford,” he said.

With anti-violence campaigner Dr Lynham the favourite, it was perhaps a coincidence that Mr Newman introduced legislation on Friday giving maximum life sentences to one-punch killers.

Penalties would also be increased for drunks who disobey or assault police.

Dr Lynham appeared alongside Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk in a shopping mall and questioned the effectiveness of the government’s new “safe night out” legislation.

“You don’t need to quote me on that, you need to quote the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, a very esteemed body in Australia, who said the whole thing’s rubbish,” he said.

The Canberra-based group did not comment on Queensland’s legislation on Friday, but the affiliated Queensland Coalition for Action on Alcohol criticised the legislation’s focus on tougher penalties.

“Penalties make little or no difference,” chairman Professor Jake Najman told AAP.

The by-election scheduled for July 19 was sparked by the resignation of former assistant health minister Chris Davis.

Dr Davis quit politics partly because of his dissatisfaction with relaxed political donation disclosure laws.

Ironically, the by-election will also be the first in Australia in which voters will be required to show identification, which is a provision of those new laws.