Thesis abstract ‘Politics, Legislation and Archaeology: A New South Wales Case Study’

23rd January 2014

George Power

BA(Hons), Department of Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology, University of New England, Armidale, October 1995

This thesis examined the political influences on protective legislation of archaedogical resources. Pluralist theory was borrowed from political science to produce a critique on the changes by examining the reasons behind these changes. Through identification and comparison of ‘pressure groups’, how and why the legislation changed was shown. The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW) was used as a case study to historically analyse the influence of pressure groups in New South Wales. My analysis allows archaeologists to develop a political perspective on legislative change and participate more effectively in the legislative process.

The proposed amendments to the National Parks and Wildlife Act reflect that social perspectives are changing. The National Parks and Wildlife (Aboriginal Ownership) bills have purported to give Aboriginal communities ownership of culturally significant areas. To date, these amendments have had trouble being passed. Such legislation, once passed, will undoubtedly have an impact on archaeology and cultural resource management in Australia. Significantly, if the bills are left unpassed, this impact will be considerably greater.

It was concluded that the National Parks and Wildlife Act had developed in three chronological stages. From these it was seen that Aboriginal pressure groups were by far the most influential in initiating change. Among these changes, the most important was that the ‘universality’ of Aboriginal cultural heritage is being broadened. Archaeologists were left in a reactive role to all changes.

Power, G.
Thesis abstract 'Politics, Legislation and Archaeology: A New South Wales Case Study'
June 1996
Thesis Abstracts
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