Competition Rules and Code of Conduct

All participants of GovHack (GovHack Officials, Judges, Mentors, Coaches, Competitors) and their associated guests (family & friends), and any service providers or visitors (Sponsors Representatives, Media, Emergency Services, Providers, IT support, Entertainers, Members of Parliament, Ministers & their Staff, etc) are expected to uphold the national & state laws of the event they are attending or registered to compete from, and this code of conduct, and any of the sub-codes of conduct listed below.

Note: submission elements and times are system controlled. There will be no extensions!

Hackerspace is the Official GovHack competition submission site and allows you to submit all components required for your team’s GovHack entry.  Using Hackerspace, teams are required to submit the following for an entry to be eligible for judging:

  • Register all Team members in Hackerspace (If your team wins, we can only recognise registered team members).
  • A descriptive project page, listing your team members, details about your project, what data sets have been used and which competition categories (state/territory, national and international) that you are going for. The project page must include your Project Description Data Story. This is a short description that describes how data has been reused and what your project is about. Submit an image that best captures your concept e.g a logo or image. If you win an award the Data Story will be used to describe your project.
  • Nominate your Award Categories. When you register your Team Project on Hackerspace you’ll have access to the International and National and relevant State/Territory competition categories.
    Teams may register more than one project; a new project page is required for each project.
    Teams can nominate for more than one award category for each project; as long as the entry meets the eligibility criteria for EACH award category.
    At a minimum please nominate one national and one local award. Projects must enter awards they are eligible for only. The best way to maximise your chance of success is to use a dataset from the National official list and a data set from your local competition and to check for any award category eligibility criteria such as utilisation of a specific data sets.
    NOTE: T
    eams can only attempt prizes in one state, plus National and Local Event prizes.
  • Outcomes from the project itself (any code, graphics, mashups, applications, website URLs, photos of each stage to create your artistic representation etc) must all be made available under an open source/content licence to be eligible for awards and any prizes. If judges are able to see and play with it that is useful, but this is a secondary consideration when judging. Teams may put the code/source on GitHub, Sourceforge or an equivalent repository system and must make the URL available on their team page for verification. For artistic works you may need to create a photo library or share a link to a document (such as Google Docs) that contains evidence of the stages of your project.
  • Data used – On your project page you are required to record any data used. This is especially required if the award categories entered has a data usage requirement for eligibility. Help make judges life easy and add the link to to the dataset used.
  • A pre-recorded video (maximum three minutes) that demonstrates your hack in action for the judging panel. The preferred method is to use a screencast or recorded demo with a voice-over narration explaining your hack, why you created it, and what is being shown in the video. Remember that the judging panel is viewing the videos in isolation and doesn’t necessarily have any context around your project. You may mix in other elements with the video, such as footage demonstrating the issues your hack addresses, interviews, live action material you’ve filmed, et cetera – but be aware that videos that don’t focus on showing off the hack itself will not be as valued as ones that do. You are encouraged to include your team name, event location, team members, and to talk about the data you have used and your data reuse story. Check out the hacker toolkit for some assistance and instruction on how to make a compelling video. Remember: Your video should not take more than a few hours out of your weekend to create if you keep it simple.
  • 7pm Friday Local time – Hackerspace opens and award categories are announced for your region
  • 12pm Saturday Local time – all competitors must register as a user on Hackerspace.
  • 5pm Saturday Local time – A Team Project Page and your award category nomination must be completed in Hackerspace. Record all your team members on your project page and the URL to your proof of concept repository. No new projects pages can be created after this time. You are still able to edit your project page after this time.
  • 4pm Sunday Local time – Your video should be finalised and a URL linking to your video created to load on your Project page. It may take some time for your video to load once you have started the upload process.
  • 5pm Sunday local time –  You MUST have all parts of your competition entry finalised before 5:00pm Local time which includes 1) your team page, 2) your data story description and detail of data sets used 3) your Project outcomes (demo’s, code, graphics, photos submitted, and 4) your video link uploaded.

All awards you can compete for will be announced on 28 July during your GovHack Event’s 2017 launch (7pm local time). After then you can find the awards listed on the Hackerspace. Teams are eligible for some great awards, including:

  • International Award categories
  • National Major Award categories
  • National Bounty Award categories
  • State & Territory Award categories

You must nominate which awards you are competing for on your Hackerspace project page.

There are also a few awards for particular categories of participants. Teams must self-nominate in the Hackerspace which of the following categories best describes their team and declare the eligible members. Team awards can be nominated for if over 50% of your team members identify with the nominated team category. A youth is anyone 18 years or younger. To be eligible for the Best University or Best Public Servant award please add the relevant competitors * or * email address.

Each GovHack location will have a Local Spirit of GovHack award for the team or individual that displays the greatest spirit of GovHack, aka the best “hacker” ethos. This means the team who best helped others, shared, learned or applied their skills creatively or  cleverly. Local Spirit awards are announced on the Sunday night after the competition. From the local Spirit of GovHack winners, a State/Territory Spirit of GovHack winner will be announced at the State/Territory Awards night. State/Territory Spirit of GovHack winners will receive a Golden Ticket that includes flights, accommodation and a ticket to the Red Carpet Awards to represent their State/Territory. Our most prestigious national award, the National Spirit of GovHack Award will be announced at the Red Carpet Awards from the State and Territory finalists.

Teams are required to submit the following as part of their competition entry:

All GovHack entries will be judged by the GovHack Competition Judging Panel against the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • The relevance to the team nominated category definition
  • Specific award eligibility criteria detailed (if any) e.g. data use, team criteria
  • Consistency with contest purposes including social value
  • Quality and design (including standards compliance)
  • Usability (including documentation and ease of use)

The GovHack competition judges will choose all winners. The judging panel for awards will consist of a mix of GovHack organisers, government agency representatives and industry sponsors as appropriate for each award.  All Submissions elements detailed in “Submitting your entry” section of this document must be completed by the required time. No requests for extensions will be considered. Final arbiter is the judging panel whose decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into. This is a competition of skill. Chance plays no part in this competition.

Each winning team must nominate a team captain in the Hackerspace. This person will be required to liaise with and provide their details to GovHack organisers following awaard announcements. They will coordinate the distribution of awards including prize money that must be evenly split between all team members. If all members of your team are under 18 then please nominate a guardian or the Local Event Organisers who will facilitate the purchase of vouchers to be split winnings among the team. If a finalist team has been selected to receive a Golden Ticket to the Red Carpet Awards, it is the team captain who will represent them.

Some local in-kind awards and prizes may be presented on the Sunday afternoon after competition close. Winners of State and Territory awards will be announced at the State/Territory Awards night. National and International Awards will be announced at the Red Carpet Awards. The Red Carpet Awards also present a great opportunity to celebrate the best projects from around the country with sponsors, agencies, media and high profile guests.

You will find the list of Official data available for the GovHack competition on the main GovHack website.  You must use at least one Official data set to be eligible for awards. Check the eligibility requirements of each award to see if you need to use a specific dataset or data from a specific Data Publisher or Data Portal. To maximize your chances to win National and State/Territory awards we recommend you mash up National and State/Territory official data, increasing your award eligibility.  We recommend you limit the number of award categories you nominate for the National and Regional competitions to 5.

Some data sets listed on data portals may have additional resources available with further information on how to use the data or other supporting material. You are encouraged to download and use these resources. If you have questions about a data set let a crew member know and we will try to find a data mentor for you or post the question on GovHackHQ Slack.  (To join go to

Several competition goals require entries must use at least one of the data sets provided for this contest, but you are free to use data from the official GovHack list or other data sets as long as their licensing terms permit usage for this purpose. You may also use any publicly accessible web services as long as it does not incur a financial cost to use (private and subscription APIs are prohibited due to licensing issues and barrier to entry).

To be eligible for an award, at least one team member must be located or based in Australia or New Zealand. At least one team member must be over 18 (or a guardian must be registered as the representative to facilitate awards). 

Judges expect entries to be primarily developed throughout the weekend of GovHack. If submissions are shown to have been worked on prior, the submission will be ineligible for awards. This does not include reuse or extension of existing software, libraries or data sets. Entrants may be members of multiple teams but each team must be registered separately. The maximum team size is 10.

Don’t do bad things. This contest has been designed to demonstrate the benefit of open access and Government 2.0. Please participate in and engage with the contest in that spirit and in good faith. You must not include submissions that are:

  • potentially libelous, false, defamatory, privacy invasive or overtly political;
  • material which is potentially confidential, commercially sensitive, or which would cause personal distress or loss;
  • any commercial endorsement, promotion of any product, service, organisation or publication;
  • language which is offensive, obscene or otherwise inappropriate; or
  • misleading, deceptive, violate a third party’s rights or are otherwise contrary to law.

We reserve the right to reject submissions that do not comply with the letter and spirit of these rules.

You agree to only include code, data, or other materials in a submission for the GovHack contest that you have the right to use and release consist with these Contest Rules.

All code and data must be available under an appropriately open license that allows reuse, commercial use, remixing and redistribution. As the owner of the code you can fork that code and commercialise if you want, but to be eligible for the competition, the codebase and demonstration submitted must be open sourced. All other content submitted must be Creative Commons BY licensed. For instance you may choose to submit an incredible dynamic or static data visualisation as your team contribution.

Use of third party tools and APIs under open use license is allowed under the GovHack Competition rules. If you use such a tool or API in your entry you must note and take responsibility for adhering to the third party terms of service. Competitors must be able to retain IP of created content according to any third party terms of service.

The reason for the open licensing of code and content is because GovHack is about awesome outcomes that anyone can use and build on. Great innovation comes from building on the greatness of those who came before.

Entrants consent to GovHack representatives using their name, likeness, image and/or voice in any media for an unlimited period of time, without remuneration, for any publicity and marketing purposes.

Most data sets available for this contest have been released under a permissive licence such as the Creative Commons Attribution license 4.0. You can also use other material that has been released on similarly liberal terms (ie. it is in the public domain (eg. US Government materials) or released under another,compatible Creative Commons license, the Free Documentation License, the MIT license or BSD license etc.).You can use non- Government data licenced for reuse, however remember this is GovHack so you must use at least one of the official Government datasets.

Submissions and comments will be posted live, but occasionally they may not make it through our anti-trolling and anti-spamming filters and may need to be moderated manually. We reserve the right to remove or not post any submission that reasonably appears to breach any of these rules.

The GovHack team makes no representations or warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, including warranties of accuracy, in regard to any submissions or links published on the GovHack website.

GovHack should be an awesome experience for everyone. Be nice, play fair, or go home.

A final note on Judges, Mentors and Eligibility

We recognise that sometimes as a Judge, or a Mentor, you just can’t help yourself and want to get involved. We understand. GovHack has that effect on people. We also know that this could put you at odds with your employer’s policies, or potentially make the competition unfair due to “insider knowledge”. To keep it all simple:

  • GovHack Official Judges (from the Global or State/Territories Operations Teams): GovHack officials cannot judge, or shortlist a category which their immediate employer is sponsoring.
  • Sponsor Judges: Where possible, in the interests of impartiality and removing unconscious bias, Sponsor Judges should be individuals who were not a part of the event.
  • In the event a sponsor is a header organisation (a State, Territory or the Australian Government), the agency will be regarded as the Agency of State for the purposes of the rules. (e.g. Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet for the Australian Government, Office of the Chief Minister for the ACT, and so on.)

In the event of dispute or uncertainty, the Chief of Judging in the GovHack Global Operations Team will reserve the right to disqualify a mentor/speaker if they perceive unfairness.The Chief Judge will consult with three or four members of the Global Operations Team, and/or State/Territory Operations Team before making any final decision.The Chief Judge’s decision is final. The Chief judge is exempt from any limitations applied to judges and /or dataset restrictions. The Chief Judge may advise participants and GovHack officials, on the judging system and resolve any disputes or ties. The Chief Judge may act as a mentor. No judge (including the Chief Judge) is eligible to enter the competition.

GovHack should be an awesome experience for everyone. Be nice, play fair, or go home.

By participating in GovHack, as an observer or a competitor, you agree to the following:

I will treat others with respect

I will not abuse, stalk, harass or threaten others. I will not make offensive comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. I will not disrupt other people or the event and I will not make inappropriate physical contact or pay unwelcome sexual attention to other participants.

I will keep it G-rated and be mindful of language

I will refrain from swearing, I will not make sexist, racist, or other exclusionary jokes, which may be offensive to those around me. I will behave in a way (only submit competition material) that is suitable for anyone to view, including young children.

I will respect the venue and equipment

I will keep the venue clean and tidy and use the rubbish and recycling bins as appropriate. I will let the organisers know if there are any issues.

I shall follow the competition rules

I will only use authorised materials that I have the right to use and release and will not submit any projects which are potentially libelous, false, defamatory or overtly political or contains material which is potentially confidential, commercially sensitive, or which would cause personal distress or loss. I will check the website and/or discuss with the organisers if at any stage I am unclear on the competition rules.

I shall look after others and myself

I will remember that we are all here to create, not party. If I am under 18, I will ensure my guardian is with me whenever I am at the venue, and if I am the guardian of a participant under 18 I will ensure I keep an eye on them. If I am feeling uncomfortable, am being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns; I will immediately contact a GovHack organiser.  

And remember that the GovHack crew are in charge and have put a lot of effort into organising a great event

I will not do anything to ruin it or engage in any behavior that violates this code of conduct. I understand that the GovHack organisers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warnings or expulsion from the GovHack event. I understand that if I am removed from the event due to inappropriate behavior, I will no longer be eligible to compete for GovHack awards.