After a last minute decision to enter the John Locke Institute’s 2016 Essay Prize, Year 11 student Corbin Duncan has placed third in the Politics category of the international competition.

Corbin was named as a finalist for the prestigious award in August, and was subsequently invited travel to the United Kingdom to attend a gala dinner in Oxford University’s Great Hall on 16 September, where the winners were announced.

Corbin was also one of only two students who were asked to convert their essays to speeches to deliver a lecture at Oxford University.

This is not the first time Corbin’s politically motivated writing has gained attention. Last year, an article he wrote questioning prime ministerial entitlements was published in the Sydney Morning Herald(external link), resulting in him being interviewed on the Today Show.

Below is an excerpt of Corbin’s third prize winning essay:

Is political ignorance a problem? What’s the solution?

American writer and intellectual, Gore Vidal, once remarked; “half of the American people have never read a newspaper, half never voted for President… one hopes it is the same half”. Here, Vidal perfectly articulates the great issue modern democracies face, with no viable solution in sight. Political ignorance, the bane of most, if not all, free nations’ electoral processes. In spite of rising education levels around the globe, on average higher IQ results than ever and mass accessible media, the general population is arguably more politically ignorant than ever before. It is a depressing thought. After centuries of evolution resulting in the achievement of one of the most robust and free systems of governance in our history, its cardinal weakness is what was meant to be its greatest strength, the people. Highly developed democracies are succumbing, seemingly more often, to the ignorance of their own voters. This manifests greatest when hyper-partisanship flourishes in the population and spreads uncontrollably into nations’ respective parliaments and legislatures. But is this a problem? If it is the will of the people and the government is indeed of the people, for the people and by the people, then one could argue that this is no issue at all and that the people’s views should be respected and ought to be carried out, ignorant or not…