So says Ms. (I use that title reluctantly) Elizabeth Broderick, one of Australia's chief political correctness commissars (from whose ranks comes our next Governor-General).
But in the interests of trying to work out whether there could possibly be some logic beneath what appears on the surface to be a perfectly absurd statement, let's think it through a bit. How might compulsory paid maternity leave be justified?
1) The State ought to support families: yes, but it does not follow from this that paid leave is a basic right (indeed, if done through the tax system it only means a transfer of welfare among families, not an increase in overall welfare)
2) Since child-bearing is done by women, no paid leave would mean relative discrimination against them: but the husband does share in the burden of lost wages, and in any case, paid paternity leave would probably be the next step.
I see no conceivable basis for paid maternity leave as a human right. And what is truly sinister about this is that, since one infers from a right a corresponding duty, it implies that mothers have a duty to be in the paid work-force. And this is a cruel lie. What we see here, and have seen over the last forty or so years, is feminists like Ms. Broderick serving as tools in the hands of the economic rationalists, for whom work-force participation is a key variable in the frenzied pursuit for economic growth.