Edited By Andrew Bonnell and Rebecca Vonhoff
German Liberalism in Queensland. Chris Herde
German Liberalism in Queensland Chris Herde The German-born members of parliament1 in Queensland during the nineteenth century were the only non-Anglo-Celtic group in the colonial legislature. Al- though small in number, with at times disparate views, there was a common thread – their German liberalism – which was the inspiration for many of their political choices and ideals. In their new home this German liberalism was ex- pressed by their acceptance of utilitarian principles at the expense of other nine- teenth century ideological strands present in the colony. In his second year in the Queensland Parliament, John Heussler articulated his political philosophy. A merchant born in Hessen, Heussler told the Upper House that a rational society should support that ‘old and well-known maxim of political economy that the greatest good should be done to the greatest number’.2 This statement did not materialise out of thin air. Heussler referenced utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s famous mantra that an ideal society is one fo- cused upon the ‘greatest happiness for the greatest number’.3 It was a maxim gaining popularity in Queensland at the time and which was also taken up by other German-born colonial politicians. For them, it was a philosophy close to elements of their own German liberal ideals, fashioned by the unique cultural and historical circumstance of their homeland. German migrants’ allegiance to the liberal side of nineteenth century politics in their new home has long been recognised through Alan Corkhill’s Queens- land and Germany; Manfred Jurgensen and Corkhill’s The German Presence in...
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