TONY Abbott plans to launch a marathon 79-day election campaign targeting 43 Labor-held seats in a bid to secure a crushing victory.
Buoyed by a strong response from business - which kicked in $500,000 for a Liberal Party fundraiser last week - the Coalition is building a sizeable war chest to launch a raid on Labor's "heartland'', the Herald Sun reports.
The Liberal Party's cash boom comes as Labor has slashed the price of a ticket to a gala fundraising dinner with Julia Gillard and her Cabinet - from $1500 to just $495.
Senior Opposition figures claim a swag of Government-held seats, with a margin of 10 per cent or less, will be "aggressively'' targeted in the lead-up to the September 14 poll.
This is double the number of seats placed on the Coalition's 2010 "hit list'' - reflecting a growing confidence that public opinion is firming for a change.
Some of Australia's best known corporate figures - including mining magnate Gina Rinehart - are spending up to $10,000 to have dinner with Mr Abbott and senior Coalition MPs amid high hopes in business that Labor will be turfed out.
"We have cash coming in through the door like there's no tomorrow,'' says one Liberal adviser.
"I have never seen anything like it.''
"Everyone wants to be our friend,'' said a senior shadow minister.
Senior Labor Party figures concede the "hot money'' is chasing the Coalition which is at short odds to win office.
The ALP hopes it will be able to equal the $23 million it spent on the 2010 campaign and can expect strong backing from the union movement, which is amassing its own war chest, of at least $5 million.
But the Government's recent leadership stoush - and the resignation of business-friendly Ministers including Simon Crean and Chris Bowen - appears to have damaged Labor's fundraising efforts.
In a sign that business is deserting the ALP, organisers of a fundraising dinner featuring Julia Gillard and her Cabinet have dramatically cut ticket prices.
The dinner at Melbourne's Sofitel Hotel on April 16 is being advertised as an opportunity to hear the Prime Minister deliver a "keynote'' address outlining her "key policy priorities''.
With opinion polls strongly in the Coalition's favour, Liberal strategists are planning to bankroll big spending campaigns in electorates that were previously considered "safe'' Labor.
These include Speaker Anna Burke's Melbourne seat of Chisholm, Labor veteran Daryl Melham's seat of Banks, Treasurer Wayne Swan's seat of Lilley and Adelaide, held by Employment Participation Minister Kate Ellis.
Even seats like Bendigo, considered a Labor "fortress'' with a margin of 9.53 per cent, are on a target list with the Liberal Party intending to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct mail-outs, advertising and other campaign measures.
Senior shadow ministers - including Julie Bishop, Joe Hockey and Malcolm Turnbull - are being rushed off their feet as they criss-cross the country to help local candidates raise campaign funds.
Last week's fundraiser in Sydney - organised by the Coalition's tourism spokesman Bob Baldwin - attracted a strong line-up of business executives including Ms Rinehart, Hungry Jacks owner and Fairfax director Jack Cowin, property developers Bill and Imelda Roche - and most of the Shadow Cabinet.