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Leigh Sales fights back tears as she signs off ABC’s 7.30 for the final time

An emotional Leigh Sales signed for the last time at 7:30am after nearly 12 years in the role.

The regular host of ABC’s top current affairs program will take six months off to spend quality time with her two young sons after announcing her shocking departure earlier this year.

Sales’ farewell coincided that same night with ABC’s 90th birthday.

Her last day started with a Krispy Kreme donut and coffee from 7-11 before spending several hours in the hair and makeup chair.

Seen before the show with friends, family and colleagues at ABC’s Sydney headquarters, she stepped outside to greet and hug her sons.

It was the normal course of business for a composed Sales at the start of Thursday night’s show, when she immediately set about introducing the first part about the fatal 1994 bombing of the National Crime Authority headquarters in Adelaide.

No mention was made of her departure until the three minutes of the program where she struggled to keep her composure and held back tears.

Leigh Sales was all smiles for the cameras for her final 7:30 episode on Thursday night

Leigh Sales was all smiles for the cameras for her final 7:30 episode on Thursday night

“Tonight is my last 7:30 episode as anchor,” Sales began.

‘Tomorrow evening there will be a special edition at 7.30 pm with a look back at the many, many years.

‘I loved every minute of it. It’s been an absolute privilege.’

“Thanks for your company, good night.”

Sales chose not to wear a Member of the Order of Australia badge on her lapel, which she has worn for major interviews and occasions, including her bombshell resignation and the last interview with former Prime Minister Scott Morrison before the recent election.

A select group of Sales’ friends, colleagues and family gathered at ABC’s Ultimo studios Thursday night for a farewell party to begin when the cameras stopped rolling as some of her interviewees paid tribute.

Leigh Sales swallowed tears as she signed off on the program she's hosted since 2011

Leigh Sales swallowed tears as she signed off on the program she’s hosted since 2011

Leigh Sales quit his job to spend more time with her sons, who were there for her goodbye

Leigh Sales quit his job to spend more time with her sons, who were there for her goodbye

“Leigh Sales is a formidable journalist – smart, thorough, compassionate and ruthless. Thank you Leigh for your many years of difficult interviews at 70 – your search for the truth has helped Australians better understand our country + our world. All the best for what the future holds,” Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek tweeted.

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers added: “For a dozen years on @730 and before that on Lateline, Leigh Sales has been a fierce, formidable and classy Inquisitor. Being interviewed by her was a big deal (and often a relief when it was over!). A complete professional and an absolute legend. All the best, Leigh.’

Colleagues from the media industry also paid tribute.

‘Goodbye to Leigh Sales. Always a class act and a true professional,” tweeted journalist Kate McClymont.

Some viewers were disappointed with Sales’s low-key sign-off of the show.

Sales documented her last day on Instagram, which started casually dressed and without makeup while buying a donut and early morning coffee from 7-11, “because nothing exciting ever happens on your last day.”

A makeup-free Leigh Sales documented her day, which started with a donut and coffee

A makeup-free Leigh Sales documented her day, which started with a donut and coffee

Leigh Sales sat in the chair for several hours later doing her hair and makeup

Leigh Sales sat in the chair for several hours later doing her hair and makeup

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She later uploaded a photo of her bright orange dress hanging in the closet and several clips teasing her trusted stylist and makeup artist of four years Christopher Sall while her hair was done.

“We’re trying to act when today is just another day, aren’t we,” she says.

In fact, we channeled messages you heard years ago like ‘don’t make a spectacle of yourself’

“It’s funny because nobody cares about putting on a spectacle these days. Look at us now, we’re already making a spectacle of ourselves.’

‘We laughed a few times to talk nonsense, as we always do’

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

The regular presenter shocked viewers earlier this year with the great news that she was stepping down from the role, saying her decision came down to her “two beautiful little boys” wanting to see more of their mother.

Sons James and Daniel are now eight and eleven years old and have always known that their mother worked four nights a week.

‘I was appointed to the position on December 3, 2010. This is my 12th year in the chair. That was five prime ministers ago. It’s been so long since Donald Trump was just a guy with a bad orange haircut who presented The Apprentice,” Sales told viewers at the time.

“There is nothing wrong, except that I have a strong feeling that it is time to pass the baton to the next runner in the race and take a break. At the end of an election cycle, it feels like a good time to start doing something new at the ABC.”

“When I started, I had no children. And now I have two boys, ages 10 and 8. And they’ve only known their mother at work four nights a week.

“They want me to be home by 8.30pm and I don’t think that’s too much to ask for two little boys and they’re two beautiful little boys.

She explained that she had ‘tried to stop and call bull****, hold powerful people accountable, expose lies, incompetence and exaggeration in all political parties and all issues and present facts even if they are unpopular or inconvenient’ .

A special devoted to Sales will air Friday night on ABC.

Leigh Sales announced earlier this year that she was leaving the program to spend more time with her young sons, now 8 and 11 years old (pictured)

Leigh Sales announced earlier this year that she was leaving the program to spend more time with her young sons, now 8 and 11 years old (pictured)

Leigh Sales reveals what she really thinks about EIGHT Australian Prime Ministers – she had the rare pleasure of interviewing ALL of them

By PETER VINCENT FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

Leigh Sales has admitted that she felt ‘stabbed in the heart’ by all the Australian Prime Ministers she has interviewed when she debunked a popular ‘myth’ about Scott Morrison.

The outgoing ABC star, whose 12-year run as a 7:30am host ends next week, said she felt a “strange affection” for all eight PMs she’s interviewed – be it Liberal or Labor leaders.

Writing in nine newspapers, Sales wanted to dispel the myth that Mr Morrison dodged her interview requests and instead “never shied away” from a difficult interview.

She wished him luck and said she plans to catch up “when the dust settles.”

Sales wanted to debunk the myth that Mr Morrison dodged her interview requests and instead

Sales wanted to debunk the myth that Mr Morrison dodged her interview requests and instead “never shied away” from a difficult interview

Sales admitted to admire and respect anyone who ‘steps up’ to the biggest job in Australia – including Anthony Albanese.

“Everyone who has done that work has something that sticks in my heart…I don’t think people understand how difficult [the job is] when they’re not around.’

Sales gave her verdict on the Australian Prime Ministers she interviewed, six of whom were in office at the time and two were former leaders.

The down-to-earth TV host was most candid about her experiences interviewing Paul Keating and Bob Hawke.

She admitted feeling “emotional” and having childhood flashbacks chatting with Hawke while waiting for an interview with his wife, Blanche, just months before he passed away in 2019.

Sales was similarly affected by Keating, confessing that she “felt her throat tightening” when she asked him who he wanted to comment on his legacy when he died.

As a guest, Malcolm Turnbull was

As a guest, Malcolm Turnbull was “sharp and engaging” and could tell stories funny enough to “make tears roll down your cheeks.”

“It’s been one of the great privileges of my life to talk to him every now and then. There will only be one PJK.’

But Sales also claimed to have no “left bias” while doing her job.

She felt her genuine desire to “understand” guests instilled confidence and helped her interact with them.

It was always important not to “agree or disagree,” she claimed.

That rapport meant she could ask for John Howard’s views on foreign affairs and politics off-camera.

She called Mr. Howard a man with a sharp “radar” who was also “helpful” and “nice.”

Sales admitted calling Mr. Rudd to drain his brain about foreign policy and political strategy and felt a sense of awe at how his mind

Sales admitted calling Mr. Rudd to drain his brain about foreign policy and political strategy and felt a sense of awe at how his mind “connected the dots”

He made a good impression on Sales by calling to express his condolences on the passing of her father Dale in 2018.

Malcolm Turnbull, who she called “a great Australian story,” did the same.

Mr Turnbull was ‘smart and engaging’ she wrote and could tell stories funny enough to ‘make tears roll down your cheeks’.

Tony Abbott gained her respect for several reasons, most notably because of his courtesy.

While many guests never acknowledged the studio crew, Mr. Abbott greeted and thanked them.

She added that Mr Abbott “always argues his angle well” and left the studio in good spirits, even if an interview with her had a “rough” ending.

Kevin Rudd, she said, was “stunningly smart.”

She admitted to calling Mr. Rudd to brief him on foreign policy and political strategy and felt awe at how his mind “connected the dots.”

The woman who succeeded him, Julia Gillard, was “a lovely, warm person” who has had the “gold standard” post-first ministerial career, having been mainly in academia.

The only Prime Minister not to comment on Sales was Malcolm Fraser.

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