21 year old Alex talks about the importance of marriage equality, youth unemployment and mental health


Alex Pannell is a 21-year-old local resident of Woodvale who is completing his Honours year at the University of Western Australia studying Political Science.

Alex said: “I believe in the 'Why not' campaign because it gets to the heart of the question of where we want to be as a community, a state and a country. United there is little we cannot do, divided there is little we can do.”

“When each time we believe that we have reached our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and are reminded of how that capacity may well be limitless. Let's unite to develop and implement solutions to our societal challenges to work toward a better tomorrow.”

Alex said “Mental health is a big issue for young people. I think there is still a stigma attached to it.  I think it’s about dealing with the deeper issues behind mental health and the things I think we can do include building resilience in our communities, getting more young people involved in sport and community activities, strengthening families and teaching young people to disconnect from social media when they are being bullied.”

Being a student himself, Alex is passionate about the issue of youth unemployment.   

“I certainly do think it’s discouraging for young people to go to university and then struggle to get a relevant career in their field, but there are several causes for that. I think part of it is making sure the university degrees are catered to the job market and the fields that can get people jobs, and then also how we improve the value of university degrees.

I questions if we are we teaching students skills that are transferrable across different jobs and how can we make skills as transferrable as possible

I also think there is an increasing prevalence of workforce casualization and part-time work has also led to a significant issue especially for people aged 23-24 who are looking to buy their first home and things like that.”

Having a relative and friends who identify as gay, marriage equality is another important issue that Alex asked Why Not too.

“Like most young people I think I tend to be for it and wonder why it hasn’t already happened,” Alex said.

“It’s about finding that middle ground so people can live in harmony, but at the same time I think politicians should go and make the decision rather than us have a plebiscite as well.”


YMCA is asking Australia ‘Why Not,’ on three issues young people have said they want addressed as a priority being youth unemployment, mental health and marriage equality.

YMCA WA CEO Ross Kyrwood said: “Young people have and always will shape the future, but only when they are inspired, empowered and heard. We hope that through this campaign YMCA can be the vehicle to highlight important issues that young people care deeply about.”

To find out more about YMCA’s Why Not campaign go to www.whynotorg.au

Category: Youth