They're lining up for the best free show in town

It has been described by some as the best free show in town and they were queuing up on Monday to a get a spot in the public gallery to watch the much anticipated appearance of Eddie Obeid at the Independent Commission Against Corrupution.

Some 60 members of the public took their seats to witness proceedings, with many lining the corridor before the inquiry began.

Many in the gallery couldn't contain their delight at the proceedings. In the morning, Mr Obeid was asked by counsel assisting the inquiry, Geoffrey Watson SC, whether ''you understand ethics''. He said, ''very well, Mr Watson,'' prompting loud laughter from the gallery.

''I would ask the members of the public to restrain themselves, please. This is not a theatre,'' the Commissioner, David Ipp QC, said.

Those packed into the corridor got another taste of the drama as Mr Obeid emerged for the one-hour lunch recess and snarled ''get stuffed'' as a man in a blue tie and spectacles said: ''It is not a guard of honour, I assure you.''

It was just one of a series of colourful moments that have rewarded an enthusiastic crowd of spectators, many of whom had lined up as early as 8am to get a seat.

While waiting to be allowed into the hearing room, many have taken to whistling and clapping whenever counsel assisting, Geoffrey Watson, SC, has tried to nip out for some lunch.

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