Leigh Sales

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Leigh Sales

Secretary Clinton Participates in a Global Town Hall (8430601966).jpg
Sales (left) hosting a Global Town Hall with Hillary Clinton in January 2013
Born (1973-05-10) 10 May 1973 (age 49)[1][2]
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
EducationAspley State High School
Alma materQueensland University of Technology
Deakin University
OccupationJournalist, author
Years active1995–present
EmployerAustralian Broadcasting Corporation
Phil Willis
(m. 1996; separated 2016)

Leigh Peta Sales AM (born 10 May 1973) is an Australian journalist and author, best known for her work with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.[3]

Sales hosted ABC TV's current affairs program 7.30 from 2011 to 2022.[4][5] In November 2022, it was announced that Sales had been appointed as the new host of ABC TV's weekly documentary series Australian Story.[6]


Sales was born in Brisbane and attended Aspley State High School in that city.[3] She received a bachelor of journalism from the Queensland University of Technology and Master of International Relations from Deakin University.[7] Sales joined the ABC in Brisbane in 1995.[3]

Since then, Sales has held several prominent roles with the ABC and was New South Wales political reporter covering the 1999 and 2007 state elections. In addition, she reported on the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Sales was the network's Washington correspondent from 2001 to 2005. The stories which she covered included the Iraq War, the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Guantanamo Bay, and Hurricane Katrina.[8]

Sales was the ABC's national security correspondent from 2006 until 2008 and was based in Sydney. From 2008 to 2010, Sales was a co-host of the ABC's Lateline, a late-night national current affairs show with a heavy emphasis on federal politics and international affairs.

Sales also hosted the ABC’s Australia Votes for the 2016 Australian Election and again for the 2019 election and hosted her last in 2022.

In December 2010, Sales was appointed anchor of the ABC's current affairs program, 7.30.[9] She has interviewed every living Australian prime minister and many world leaders and celebrities, including Hillary Clinton,[10] the Dalai Lama,[11] Aung San Suu Kyi, Paul McCartney,[9] Patti Smith, and Salman Rushdie.

In 2019, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her services to broadcast journalism.[12]

In February 2022, Sales announced she will step down from 7:30 in June 2022 following the federal election.[5] She said she planned to continue working for the ABC.[9] In November 2022 Sales was announced as the new host of ABC TV's weekly biographical documentary series Australian Story, to commence the role in early 2023.[6]

Publishing career[edit]

Her first book, Detainee 002: The Case of David Hicks, was published in 2007 by Melbourne University Publishing (MUP).[13] The book covers Hicks' case as well as a detailed explanation of the Bush administration's detainee policy in the War on Terror[14] and the Australian government's cooperation.

Sales' second book, On Doubt, was published in 2009 as part of MUP's series Little Books on Big Themes. It covers the rise of opinion in place of straight news reporting and the value of bringing a sceptical mindset to politics and policy, instead of ideological certainty. A second edition was published in 2017, with an additional chapter noting the Trump presidency and the rise of fake news.

Her third book, Any Ordinary Day, was published in October 2018.[15] It examines the way people adapt to life-changing blindsides, drawing on Sales' personal experience as well as her years covering high-profile news events that drastically changed people's lives.

Sales' writing has also regularly appeared in major Australian publications, including The Monthly, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and, before its demise, The Bulletin.

In the wake of fellow ABC presenters Hamish Macdonald and Lisa Millar both deactivating their Twitter accounts due to the high level of personal abuse they received on the platform, Sales wrote an opinion piece for the ABC in September 2021 exploring the issue of bullying received by journalists on Twitter which she described as "insidious" and "unhinged".[16] This in turn prompted a public conversation on the topic.[17][18][19][20]

Chat 10 Looks 3 podcast[edit]

In November 2014, Sales started a podcast with Annabel Crabb called Chat 10 Looks 3. It is independent of the work they do for other media outlets and is an opportunity for them to talk about books, movies, television, the media and culture.[21][22] The podcast won two awards at the 2019 Australian Podcast Awards in the “Literature, Arts & Music” and “TV, Film & Pop Culture” categories.[23] Described by Sales and Crabb as shambolic and peripatetic[24] the podcast episodes are recorded every two to three weeks.[25] The podcast has spawned livestream shows in Australian capital cities[26] and a book titled Well Hello[27] published in September 2021.[28] Self-proclaimed “chatters or chatterati” have formed a Chat 10 Looks 3 community on social media platforms[29] built around the same tenets as the podcast - friendship, kindness, and an agreement to not discuss politics. Sales has said “a community has sprung up around (the podcast) who shares these in-jokes and language and interests. When I consume podcasts …I tend to see myself as a member of the audience, not as a member of a community. That’s why it caught me by surprise”[27]

Personal life[edit]

Sales was married to Phil Willis and they have two sons.[30][31] After 20 years of marriage, Sales and Willis separated in December 2016.[32]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Award Work Year Result
Walkley Book Award Any Ordinary Day 2019 Won[33]
Member of the Order of Australia (AM) For service to the broadcast media 2019 Honoured[34]
Walkley Award for Broadcasting and Online Interviewing Interview 2012 Won[35]
George Munster Award for Independent Journalism Detainee 002 2012 Won[36]
Walkley Award Best Radio Current Affairs reporting on Guantanamo Bay[8] 2012 Won


  • Detainee 002 : The Case of David Hicks. 2007.
  • On Doubt (2009)
  • "Born again". The Monthly. 44: 19–20. April 2009.
  • Any Ordinary Day: Blindsided, Resilience, and What Happens After the Worst Day of Your Life (2018)


  1. ^ Record at ISNI
  2. ^ "Happy Thursday May 10th, 2018", 4BU, 10 May 2018
  3. ^ a b c Interview with Leigh Sales by Wendy Squires, Daily Life (The Sydney Morning Herald), 16 December 2012.
  4. ^ Knox, David (3 December 2010). "Chris Uhlmann & Leigh Sales to host new-look "7:30"". TV Tonight. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  5. ^ a b Knox, David (10 February 2022). ""Time to pass the baton": Leigh Sales to depart as 7:30 host". TV Tonight. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  6. ^ a b Ma, Wenlei (24 November 2022). "ABC reveals 2023 programming slate, Leigh Sales to host Australian Story". news.com.au. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  7. ^ "The Sales Report", The Sydney Morning Herald (16 December 2012)
  8. ^ a b "7.30 About Us", Australian Broadcasting Corporation (21 February 2013)
  9. ^ a b c Wearring, Myles (10 February 2022). "Leigh Sales announces she is stepping down as presenter of 7.30". ABC News. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  10. ^ "Australian moderates Clinton's farewell talkfest", The Sydney Morning Herald (30 January 2013)
  11. ^ "Dalai Lama shares wisdom on dissent, death and politicians". 7:30 Report. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  12. ^ "2019 Queen's Birthday Honours List", Commonwealth of Australia
  13. ^ "Detainee 002: The Case of David Hicks". The Sydney Morning Herald. 18 May 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  14. ^ Sales, Leigh (2007). Detainee 002: The Case of David Hicks. ISBN 9780522854008. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  15. ^ "Any Ordinary Day review: Leigh Sales and negotiations with sudden grief" by Astrid Edwards (review of Any Ordinary Day), The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 October 2018
  16. ^ Sales, Leigh (14 September 2021). "Bullying on Twitter has become unhinged. It's time to call out the personal, sexist attacks". ABC News. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  17. ^ Smith, Rohan (15 September 2021). "Leigh Sales launches into new era of political bullies". news.com.au. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  18. ^ Simons, Margaret (14 September 2021). "Bullying must end, but it can't all be tweet nothings". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  19. ^ Quinn, Karl (17 September 2021). "'I wasn't looking to make a fuss': Why journalists are giving up on Twitter". The Age. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  20. ^ Knox, David (17 September 2021). ""I do 15 hours of live TV a week": Lisa Millar reflects on quitting Twitter". TV Tonight. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  21. ^ "Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb launch new podcast". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  22. ^ "Chat 10 Looks 3". Chat 10 Looks 3. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Winners Announced at 2019 Australian Podcast Awards". Australian Podcast Awards powered by iHeart. Retrieved 20 October 2022.
  24. ^ "Chat 10 Looks 3". Chat 10 Looks 3. Retrieved 20 October 2022.
  25. ^ "Chat 10 Looks 3". Chat 10 Looks 3. Retrieved 20 October 2022.
  26. ^ "Chat 10 Looks 3 Live | Arts Centre Melbourne". www.artscentremelbourne.com.au. Retrieved 20 October 2022.
  27. ^ a b Crabb, Annabel; Sales, Leigh (2021). Well Hello. Penguin. p. 37. ISBN 9781761041525.
  28. ^ "Well Hello". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 20 October 2022.
  29. ^ "MEDIA RELEASE". Chat 10 Looks 3. Retrieved 20 October 2022.
  30. ^ O'Dwyer, Erin (19 July 2015). "Powerhouse women of the ABC". Daily Life. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  31. ^ Acott, Antonia (11 March 2015). "Leigh Sales climbs back to the top". The New Daily. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  32. ^ "Leigh Sales: 'It just started to feel like nothing was safe' " by Amanda Hooton, The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 September 2018
  33. ^ "Herald Sun's "Lawyer X" wins 2019 Gold Walkley Award". The Walkley Foundation. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  34. ^ "Leigh Peta Sales". honours.pmc.gov.au. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  35. ^ "Leigh Sales wins Walkley for best interview", Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1 December 2012)
  36. ^ "ABC Journalist wins George Munster Journalism Award", Australian Broadcasting Corporation (13 September 2009)

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by Lateline
Presenter (Monday, Tuesday & Friday)

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Presenter with Chris Uhlmann

Succeeded by