A backbench MP has defended his decision to break government ranks on penalty rates arguing it's about protecting peoples' livelihood.
George Christensen on Monday introduced a private bill to prevent a Fair Work Commission ruling to cut Sunday rates for some workers.
The legislation would also stop rates from being cut under enterprise agreements if an employee was worse off than under an award wage.
The outspoken Nationals MP told parliament he was "breaking ranks" with the government by putting the bill forward but did so for a number of reasons.
"First and foremost, legislation concerning people's livelihoods and their ability to put food on the table should be considered very carefully," he told MPs.
The proposal was fair for those at risk of losing pay under the Commission's changes, those who've already had penalty rates bargained away, and small businesses disadvantaged by "dodgy deals" between big business and unions.
"I believe that rank-and-file members of the Labor party and the Greens would fully support this bill, and I challenge the members opposite and those in the Senate to demonstrate that they do in fact support Australian workers," he said.
"I challenge the unions to instruct their members to support this bill, to instruct their puppets in the Labor party to support this bill."
The lower house is already debating a private bill introduced by federal Labor leader Bill Shorten to protect the take-home pay of Australian workers.
His draft laws, however, don't extend to cover rates cut under agreements brokered by unions.