QUT alumnus the new face of 7.30

28 February 2011

From Monday March 7, viewers of ABC TV news and current affairs will be able to tune in at the iconic 7.30 time slot for their usual dose of hard-hitting interviews and stories. However, in Kerry O'Brien's place will be a new, but familiar face - Queensland University of Techology (QUT) alumnus Leigh Sales.

"People have been so lovely to me about taking over. I've been really humbled, actually, by so many well-wishers," said Ms Sales, who graduated from QUT in 1993 with a Bachelor of Business (Journalism).

"We'll still be doing all the hard-hitting interviews, hopefully even more than before!

"I'm looking forward to getting to bed before midnight! Hosting Lateline was a killer."

Despite the late nights, Ms Sales said she counted her three years as anchor of Lateline - "one of the nation's most respected current affairs programs" - as one of her career highlights to date.

At Lateline, Ms Sales interviewed major world figures including Tony Blair and Henry Kissinger. However her favourite interview was with Hillary Clinton "because I had read so much about the Clintons for so many years."

Ms Sales said it was intimidating to interview people who were powerful players on the world stage "but I always make sure I'm well prepared."

From 2001 to 2006, Ms Sales was the ABC's Washington Correspondent. She covered world-changing events such as the aftermath of September 11, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and Hurricane Katrina.

Ms Sales said she also considered writing the book Detainee 002 as a career highlight. She wrote the book after covering Guantanamo Bay and the David Hicks case for the ABC - journalism which won her a prestigious Walkley Award.

The book went on to win the 2007 George Munster award for independent journalism.

"I love writing and I love talking to people. I love the excitement of covering breaking news," she said.

7.30 will be anchored out of Sydney and Canberra by Ms Sales (presenter) and Chris Uhlmann (political editor).

Media contact: Michaela Ryan, QUT media officer, 07 3138 4494 or

QUT alumnus and presenter of 7.30, Leigh Sales