7.30 presenter Leigh Sales to step down following federal election

Host of 7.30, the ABC’s nightly current affairs program, Leigh Sales is to step down in late June, after 11 years in the role.

Sales will remain with the ABC in a new role once she steps down from her current role, following the upcoming federal election cycle. The broadcaster said she will also lead the ABC’s election night TV coverage.

Sales to step down from 7.30, but remain with the ABC

She announced the decision on 7.30 last night, where she said: “I feel a strong sense of it being time to pass the baton to the next runner in the race and to take a break. The end of an election cycle feels like a good time to move onto something new at the ABC.”

“I’ve always approached this job with one goal and that is to ask frank questions of people in power, without fear or favour, that a fair-minded, reasonable person with some common sense watching at home might like to ask if they were sitting in my position.

“The team at 7.30 is unparalleled in the media and I could not have more admiration or more gratitude for what they all do. It is an incredibly important program, there is no other show that does what 7.30 does night after night. I know the program is going to keep going from strength to strength, as it always has.”

Managing director of the ABC, David Anderson said her integrity, intellect and courage are evident “in everything she does”, making her an exceptional journalist respected by all sides of politics.

“Our audiences have always seen Leigh as a journalist and broadcaster who challenges her subjects and asks the questions we all want answers to. I’m really looking forward to the next stage of her career here at the ABC.”

Acting director of ABC News, Gavin Fang said: “We would love to have her stay in that role, but it’s in Leigh’s nature to seek fresh challenges, and it’s exciting for everyone to see what she’ll do next in journalism.”

“7.30 plays a vital role in the service ABC News provides to audiences and the presenter job is one of the most important in the Australian media – and one of the toughest and most highly scrutinised.

“We’ll start thinking about a new presenter down the track. For the next few months we’ll just enjoy every moment of having Leigh on the program.”

Fang is currently in the role while the ABC looks for a permanent replacement for Gaven Morris, who stood down last year.

Prior to stepping in to the role, she was the anchor of Lateline for three years. Sales joined the ABC in Brisbane in 1995 as a junior reporter, before going on to hold roles including NSW state political reporter and national security reporter. She lived in Washington between 2001 to 2005 as the ABC’s Washington correspondent.

Justin Stevens, 7.30 executive producer added: “Leigh espouses the finest virtues of public interest journalism. Year after year she has carried the weight and responsibility of fronting 7.30 with fairness, independence, impartiality and a forthright questioning of those in power without fear or favour – and Australian democracy is the better for it.”

Sales was made Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2019 in the Queens Birthday Honours list. 


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