Competition Rules #2

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 challenges (state/territory, national and international) that you are going for. The project page must include your Project Description and 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 Challenges: When you register your Team Project on Hackerspace you’ll have access to the National and relevant State/Territory competition challenges.
  • Teams may register more than one project; a new project page is required for each project.
  • Teams can nominate for more than one challenge for each project; as long as the entry meets the eligibility criteria for EACH challenge.
  • At a minimum please nominate at least one challenge. Projects must only enter challenges they are eligible for. 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 state/territory competition and to check for any challenge eligibility criteria such as utilisation of a specific data sets.
  • 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 challenges 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, etc – 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.
    • CLARIFICATION (09/09/18) – Judges reserve the right to stop watching video which are over 3 minutes. Please ensure that for the most part video are 3 minutes maximum in length. Ensure that the extra time is truly needed and isn’t dull space. Videos significantly longer than 3 minutes (over 5% will be mark penalties applied).
  • 7pm Friday Local time – Challenges are announced for your region on Hackerspace
  • 10am Saturday Local time – all competitors are recommended to register as a team on Hackerspace. Also the recommended time for selecting your challenges and recording them to your project page.
  • 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 challenges you can compete for will be announced at the GovHack Event’s launch. After that you can find the awards listed on the Hackerspace. Teams are eligible for some great awards, including:

  • International challenge
  • National challenges
  • State & Territory challenges (Australia only)

You must nominate which challenges you are competing for on the Hackerspace challenge page.

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

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

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. Requests for extensions may be considered under special circumstances (such as site wide internet failure, Hackerspace failure). These should be requests should be emailed to and your event host with detailed reasons why the late submission should be accepted. Please provide clear indication of the team entry and the reasons why. The local event host will need to confirm the justification. 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 award 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. New Zealand awards will be announced at the New Zealand Awards night. Australian 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 Hackerspace.  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 International, National and State/Territory awards we recommend you mash up International, National and State/Territory official data, increasing your award eligibility.  You are limited to the number of challenges you nominate for to a total of 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 competition, 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 International, National and/or State/Territory (Australia only) award, at least one team member must be located or based in Australia and/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 competition has been designed to demonstrate the benefit of open access and Government 2.0. Please participate in and engage with the competition in that spirit and in good faith. You must not include submissions that are:

  • potentially libellous, 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;
  • 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 competition that you have the right to use and release consist with these Competition 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 competition 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 International, National or State/Territories Operations Teams): GovHack officials cannot judge, or shortlist a challenge 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 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 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.