The celebrated activist and democracy champion endured years of house arrest at the hands of Myanmar's military regime and has been feted since her release, but she insisted she was just an ordinary person.

"I always thought that I was a politician, I look upon myself as a politician, not as an icon," she told an audience in Sydney during her first visit to Australia.

"I always object to the word icon, because it's very static, it stands there, sits there, hangs on the wall, and I happen to work very, very hard."

The Nobel Peace Prize winner said she disliked being called a saint even more than an icon.

"Let me assure you I am no saint of any kind; this I find very troubling, because politicians are politicians, but I do believe there is such a thing as an honest politician and I aspire to that," she said.

The Oxford-trained daughter of the country's independence hero was released from house arrest in 2010 and said her dream for the country under the reformist government of President Thein Sein was "unity".

During her trip to Australia, Suu Kyi will also visit Melbourne and Canberra, meeting Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.


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