Season 3 of Expanse podcast explores Spies in the Outback

The ABC has launched a podcast from the red centre with the third season of the Expanse series, Spies in the Outback, lifting the lid on the most secretive intelligence facility in Australia – Pine Gap.

Host Alex Barwick (pictured) is a journalist who has lived in Alice Springs for 16 years. She’s was told not to ask questions about Pine Gap, but became determined to find out just what this space base, built by the Americans 18kms south of Alice, does.

Barwick said:

“I think most Australians accept that governments do a bit of eavesdropping on one another but what’s happening at Pine Gap takes that to the next level. The complete absence of a public conversation about what we’re part of is strange.

In a small town like Alice Springs, everyone knows someone who works at Pine Gap but nobody talks about it, it’s always felt unnerving to me. Why can’t we know more?”

Alice Springs families who were there at the beginning talk with Barwick, as well as the traditional owners whose land was taken to build the facility, the people who’ve put their bodies on the line to close the base down and a spy who spent years working on the inside.

Sold on a lie and built on stolen land Pine Gap has transformed the way wars are now fought.

Expanse: Spies in the Outback episode one is out Wednesday April 17 with five more released weekly on the ABC listen app, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Expanse is a podcast series exploring big stories from across Australia. Spies in the Outback follows Pink Diamond Heist in 2022, and From the Dead which was released in 2023 and won Silver at the 2024 New York Festivals Radio Awards.

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