PETER LLOYD: It was former NSW mining minister Ian Macdonald’s second day in the witness box at the Independent Commission Against Corruption today.

After a strong start a day ago, Mr Macdonald was clearly a man under pressure, as he struggled to defend his decision five years ago to virtually give away a mining tenement in the Hunter Valley.

The counsel assisting the commission, Peter Braham SC, repeatedly called the minister a liar under questioning, claiming his decision to give away the mine right to a mate had been a disgrace.

Deborah Cornwall was at the inquiry today and I began by asked her what happened today.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Ha, I think counsel assisting Peter Braham really saved his best for last today. In military terms I think you might call it a surgical attack. He just rounded on Macdonald, listing all the lies he says Macdonald has told throughout the inquiry to try and justify granting this mining exploration licence at Doyles Creek in the first place.

And this was a decision which reaped $50 million for Macdonald and his investor mates but nothing at all for the people of New South Wales.

So Macdonald started off cocky but towards the end today you could just see him wilting under the pressure of it all. He was flustered, he was angry. I think there are only so many ways you can say, “I can’t remember”, “That’s not true, or “I did nothing wrong,” especially when the public gallery is open, really openly laughing at him today.