The indefinite detention of refugees held offshore has been described as "a cruel stopgap" by Indi MP Helen Haines.
The independent stood in Parliament this week to second a motion from her crossbench colleague Andrew Wilkie, who called for the federal government to accept New Zealand's offer to take refugees rather than have them kept on Nauru or on Manus Island.
"For too long in this country we have been sold the idea by our successive governments that to be kind we must be cruel," Dr Haines said.
"But we know, as evidenced by the large number of people arriving by plane, people are still coming and will continue to come.
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"Offshore indefinite detention is a cruel stopgap that should have been dismantled long ago and replaced with a system that actually creates a fair, orderly process that gets people safely and quickly settled into our communities.
"People I meet are devastated by what we've become - they want better than this."
People I meet are devastated by what we've become - they want better than this.Indi MP Helen Haines
The federal government has argued it is not the right time to send refugees to New Zealand because it would send the wrong message to people smugglers.
Dr Haines said her position had the backing of the Rural Australians for Refugees group, and people from Indi were regularly asking her to take action.
"The people are calling for a better response than what our leaders have given us," she said.