This chapter describes heritage as an element of Australian cultural politics, exploring the linkage between ideology and conservation practice. It considers some of the difficulties being experienced by the Australian heritage system that make it vulnerable to political exploitation and that will need to be addressed if the system is to retain its credibility and effectiveness. The laws and bureaucratic structures in place also militate against holistic approaches to heritage protection. Governments at national, state and municipal levels- fear the electoral backlash that critics claim will result from the too wide and too rigid application of heritage controls. The fragmented character of Australia's heritage system not only relates to the multiplicity of levels of government, but also to the separation of different components of heritage into different government departments and instrumentalities. The focus of heritage management in Australia has been on heritage places, both cultural and natural, with an extension into cultural landscapes and underwater heritage in the 1990s.