News, Culture & Society

Sarah Ferguson to replace Leigh Sales on ABC’s 7:30 Report

Leigh Sales’ replacement as host of the ABC’s 7.30 is FINALLY revealed as a veteran interviewer

Investigative journalist Sarah Ferguson will replace Leigh Sales as the host of the ABC’s flagship current affairs programme 7.30 Report.

Ferguson took up a temporary post in the U.S. capital early last year after being unable to begin her planned role as the ABC’s Beijing bureau chief due to poor relations between Australia and China.

In addition to being something of a free agent, Ferguson also has a reputation as a no-nonsense interviewer, which was on display when she hosted 7:30 for six months in 2014 while Sales was on maternity leave.

‘I’m delighted to take on the presenter role at 7.30,’ says Ferguson.

‘Led by Leigh Sales and chief political correspondent Laura Tingle, the 7.30 team has created a powerhouse program, making superb current affairs journalism on the cutting edge of the genre,’ she explained.

Presenting ABC’s 7:30, formerly The 7:30 Report, is considered one of the most demanding and high-profile roles in Australian television. 

‘Working in collaboration with the inimitable Laura is irresistible. Adding myself into that mix sounds tremendously rewarding at a time when scrutiny of power is essential, when our social structures are undergoing profound change.

‘On Leigh’s departure, I’d like to say that her diligence and skill have made an enormous contribution to Australian journalism. What you don’t see in her calm studio presence is the huge amount of work she does in preparation. It will be a pleasure to take over from such a pro.

‘Public service journalism has to deliver for the Australian audience, all day, every day. No one in Australia should ever feel they have no voice. It’s our job to show how public broadcasting can create a place for everyone to come and debate, think deeply, be thrilled, entertained and sometimes provoked. This is the opposite of seeking to polarise in ways we are seeing in media worldwide.’

ABC viewers were shocked when Leigh Sales revealed in February she was stepping down as host.

In the months leading up to her resignation, the single mother of two was reportedly struggling to balance her demanding job with homeschooling her children.

Sales says her decision to quit came down to her ‘two beautiful little boys’ wanting to see more of their mum. 

She told viewers she wanted them to hear the news from her ‘personally’, as she explained she wanted to finally spend evenings with her kids after more than a decade. 

‘I was appointed to the job on December 3, 2010. This is my 12th year in the seat. That was five Prime Ministers ago. It was so long ago that Donald Trump was just a guy with a bad orange hairdo hosting The Apprentice,’ she said.