The Australian Labor Party (ALP) belongs to that tradition of parliamentary parties that describe themselves as "social democratic".
That term has a particular meaning in the European context where most of these parties began as Marxist parties that later surrendered their working class credentials in the pursuit of reforms within the economic system of capitalism and effected through Parliament as the political institution of capitalism.
The ALP had no such "Marxist" beginnings. It has always sought to use the electoral support of the working class to make capitalism function more smoothly compared to the aggressive and confrontational policies of the openly conservative parties.
When in Opposition, it is forced to adopt a mildly more progressive stance than its conservative opponents. When it office as the governing party it consistently drops its pretence to progressivism and carries out those attacks that the conservatives cannot get away with.
A case in point is the South Australian scheme for the protection of injured workers, WorkCover.
When he was in Opposition, State ALP leader Mike Rann was vehement in his opposition to the then governing Liberal Party of Dean Brown and Graham Ingerson on the issue of changes to WorkCover.
Thirteen years later, Rann now seeks to implement attacks to WorkCover that are more far-ranging than those he railed against as Opposition leader at a rally on the steps of the State Parliament.
In the speech he delivers a commitment that every Labor member of Parliament will vote against the Liberals' WorkCover amendments.
Today, as premier, he uses bully boy tactics to intimidate Labor members of Parliament into supporting his WorkCover amendments.
As Greens Member Mark Parnell says, "No one asks to be injured at work, and no one in their right mind would want to put up with the bullying behaviour of WorkCover and it claims managers longer than is necessary. The tragedy is that for injured workers it's about to get much worse....Mr Rann and Mr Foley have chosen a remedy that will devestate working families, while at the same time delivering a windfall profit to employers."
The Youtube video below shows the militant, fist-shaking Opposition leader making a speech that could well be directed against the smarmy ruling class toady that he has since become:
(See also: http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com/2008/04/construction-workers-rally-to-fight.html )