Shock as long-time ABC presenter announces departure

ABC’s long-time 7pm bulletin presenter Juanita Phillips is set to depart mid-September after over 20 years at the broadcaster.

Announced Monday afternoon via a column on the ABC website, Phillips wrote that “change is in the air” both at the ABC and within her family and personal life, and “it seems the right time” to take a new step for herself.

Juanita Phillips is leaving the ABC after over 20 years

She joined the ABC in 2002, after a number of roles across the world, including at CNN International, BBC World News, Sky News Australia and Network 10.

After a year of weekend presenting and co-anchoring the NSW 7pm News, she became the bulletin’s main solo presenter.

Phillips wrote: “After 21 years presenting the 7pm news, I have decided to leave the ABC and take a break for a while.

“It’s my choice, and I’m excited to start the next phase of my life.

“It’s been an honour to serve the people of NSW in this role, and I’ll be sorry to say goodbye to our 7pm viewers.”

She thanked her colleagues at the ABC, saying: “I couldn’t do my job without the skill and support of my colleagues: producers, editors, directors, studio crew, auto-cue operators and makeup artists, to name a few.”

ABC director, news, Justin Stevens, said she would leave a valuable legacy at the national broadcaster.

“This is sad news, but we respect the decision Juanita has made, detailed in the wonderful words she has written today about her decision,” he said.

“Juanita is a key presence in the ABC, both on air and behind the scenes. She is loved and trusted by viewers and one of our most senior and respected editorial leaders. Live-to-air, in the studio and from the field, she has informed us about many of the biggest news events, always with her trademark clarity and calm.

“As well as her journalistic contribution, Juanita is a champion and trailblazer for gender equity and inclusion in the newsroom, with her advocacy benefiting many women at the ABC and throughout the media,” concluded Stevens.

Phillips went on to say she has no immediate plans and isn’t sure what’s next.

“I do know this – I won’t be training for a marathon or studying for a PhD. And I solemnly promise not to start a podcast,” she wrote.

“I’m looking forward to being home at night for dinner. Having Sundays free. Being able to attend my Thursday night book club without taking annual leave.

“After a lifetime of working strange, unsociable hours, I’m ready for a bit of normality.”

Phillips’ last bulletin will be on Sunday, 10 September.


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