A LEAKED election battle plan reveals Labor's target seats list across Victoria for this year's poll to protect the PM's leadership.
Seen by the Sunday Herald Sun, the ALP's target seats document determines the seats officials will sandbag at the federal election with cash and manpower.
It confirms the Labor Party's battle is holding the line in Victoria, with not a single Liberal-held seat on Labor's target seat list as vulnerable to attack.
Instead, it lists three marginal Labor Victorian seats as crucial to defend: Corangamite, held by Darren Cheeseman, Deakin, held by Mike Symon, and La Trobe, held by Laura Smyth.
The Greens' seat of Melbourne, held by Adam Bandt, is also in the ALP's sights, despite his support being crucial to Ms Gillard forming government.
The electorates of independents Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor are not on the list.
But Labor strategists fear the target list is more concerned with protecting the Prime Minister's leadership, amid fears up to 20 Labor MPs could be thrown out of office.
"It's all wrapped up in the leadership. They can't have a frank discussion about what seats are at risk further up the pendulum," a Labor strategist said.
"They're trapped. I understand why they've got the list they've got. But the minute they have an honest conversation with people, Julia Gillard has got to have some difficult conversations."
Another senior strategist predicted a "reconciliation" closer to the September 14 poll to reflect seats with much bigger margins that are clearly in play.
"The electorate is volatile and what's in play is not the standard electoral pendulum," he said.
With the Coalition running hard on second-tier marginal seats on bigger majorities, the Labor Party remains concerned about other seats.
They include fears for the central Victorian seat of McEwen, held by Rob Mitchell, and even Bendigo, held by the retiring Steve Gibbons.
The target seats document lists 25 ALP and Liberal seats regarded as the most marginal, must-hold or vulnerable to Labor Party attack.
They include eight marginal Liberal seats the ALP plans to target, among them four in Queensland.
Also included is Dobell, the seat of former Labor MP turned independent, Craig Thomson. It is regarded as likely to turn over, as a result of the ongoing Health Services Union scandal and despite a 5 per cent buffer.
New South Wales emerges as ground zero for Labor with the most seats in danger, according to the party's list. It is closely followed by Victoria and Queensland.
Tasmania has also turned toxic for the ALP with seats on traditionally big margins regarded as in the danger zone.
The target list suggests the ALP holds no hope of picking up Liberal-held seats in NSW or Victoria but will target Coalition seats on tight margins in Queensland and Western Australia.
The list also nominates eight Liberal seats as vulnerable to attack. They are Brisbane, Forde, Longman and Bonner in Queensland, Hasluck and Swan in WA, Boothby in South Australia and Solomon in the Northern Territory.
Accusing Ms Gillard's team of failing to confront the reality of Labor's position, state officials are scrambling to raise money and tap unions to help run campaigns in second-tier at-risk ALP seats that have been left off the list.
Officials fear seats in NSW, Queensland and Victoria with much bigger majorities remain high risk and could be starved of resources.
The target list is used to allocate political funding for campaigning and advertising priorities.
"You name it, it's basically the main game," a Labor source said.
Read more on the Herald Sun.