Michael Long calls on King to back Voice, plans royal delegation

AFL great and Voice to Parliament campaigner Michael Long has called on the King to back the Yes vote ahead of the October 14 referendum.

The former Essendon champion is walking from Melbourne to Canberra to raise awareness of the Voice – recreating his Long Walk of 2004 when former prime minister John Howard abolished the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

Speaking to a crowd in the regional Victorian city of Wangaratta on Monday, Long said a “contingent” would fly to London seeking support royal support for Yes campaign.

“I’m going to call on the head of the Commonwealth, I’m calling on King Charles,” Long was quoted as saying by citizen journalism website NoFibs.

“Your mother was a great leader of so many different nations. You’re the head of the Commonwealth. You’re our King. Well, it’s time,” he added.

“If you are the leader you say you are, support the Yes campaign. Support the change.”

Long said that he would be willing to “beg the King” for his support.

“If you are such a great leader – and I’m calling on his sons Prince William and Prince Harry, your grandmother was head of other black nations, we are no different,” he said.

“We are calling on King Charles please stand with us, please stand with the Australians that want to move forward.”

Long was joined in Wangaratta by former Olympian and Labor senator Nova Peris and ultra-marathon runner former Liberal MP Pat Farmer.

Mr Farmer said it was a “great shame” that Opposition Leader Peter Dutton was opposing the Voice.

“Not everybody agrees with this referendum and what’s coming up in this point in time and for the life of me I can’t possibly understand why they are like that, I don’t think they can understand either,” he said.

Ms Peris compared the proposed Voice to Parliament to a watchdog that would monitor laws that affect Indigenous Australians.

She also said the recognition would be an important step toward ensuring equality for Indigenous Australians.

“My grandfather had chains around his neck. That’s not 100 years ago. This is in our lifetime,” she said.

“He was so ashamed of how he was treated, so ashamed and that’s in our blood memory.”

Michael Long

Long previously met John Howard at the end of his original Long Walk. Photo: AAP

Members of the royal family do not usually speak on political issues affecting Commonwealth nations.

Long’s second walk began in Melbourne on August 27. He is expected to reach Canberra on September 14.

Mr Farmer left Tasmania in April on a round-Australia run that will take in Perth before ending at Uluru on October 11.

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