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AFL legend London-bound to get King's support for Voice

David Prestipino -

Michael Long's quest to garner support for the Voice referendum is set to take an international route, with the AFL legend revealing plans to travel to London and petition the King.

The Indigenous leader and Essendon champion, 53, is currently walking from Melbourne to Canberra to promote the Yes campaign and signalled his intent to win the Royal Family's support ahead of next month's referendum.

"I call on the head of the Commonwealth, I'm calling on King Charles … you're the head of the Commonwealth, you are our king," said Long, who has less than two weeks left of his trek, part of the annual Long Walk charity event now in its 20th year and usually a feature of the AFL's Dreamtime round.

The Royal Family, including King Charles III, have remained silent in public about the Voice to parliament campaign but Long said it was time Australia's head of state made a stance.

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

"If you are the leader you say you are, support the Yes campaign, support the change," he told Nine newspapers.

"I'm calling on his sons, Prince William and Harry ... your grandmother was head of other black nations, we are no different.

"So we are calling on King Charles to please stand with us, please stand with the Australians that want to move forward.

"We're going to take this to London, even if we have to beg the King."

Long was joined on his trek this week by former Liberal MP and ultra-marathon champion Pat Farmer, who is running around Australia to support the Voice.

Farmer said he had spoken to Opposition leader Peter Dutton prior to beginning his journey in April and expressed disappointment the referendum had become so political.

"If they didn't make this political it would sail through, it would be no problem whatsoever," said Farmer, who left Tasmania on a round-Australia run that will take in Perth before ending at Uluru on October 11.

"I think we'll be damned by the rest of the world if we make the wrong decision."

Mr Dutton has been criticised after telling Sky News on Sunday he would support a second referendum if the Voice failed to get enough support next month.

Long's walk to Parliament House, where he's expected to arrive on September 14 after leaving Melbourne on August 27, mirrors his initial journey from Melbourne to Canberra 20 years ago, when he set off to speak with then-prime minister John Howard after the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission was abolished.

Since that iconic moment, The Long Walk has transformed to an annual charity event, where people join Long in walking from Melbourne's Birrarung Marr to the MCG before the annual Essendon-Richmond Dreamtime game during AFL Indigenous Round.

More information on The Long Walk and its legs and destinations are here.


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