Its closer to a standard volunteer agreement and whilst a bit brutal is accurate, as the definition of a volunteer means that there is no mutuality of agreement or obligation. Volunteers are not covered by a lot of the anti-discrimination legislation although the organisation has a moral / ethical duty to comply.
Unfortunately the “Ivory Tower Dwellers” as you put it haven’t lost the plot, they are just stating something that they can actually do, even though it may be unethical to do so and updating the organisations HR to modern times. The below link may be of interest.
The possibility of when this changes is if you have a permanent paid member of civil service staff with the RAFAC who also volunteers with the RAFAC. This introduces grey boundaries and can inadvertently imply employment.
Re the VA I wouldn’t be too cynical as I imagine they are just guarding against lack of funds when the new auto-claim system comes in via Bader SMS. Money is a very easy motivational tool requiring very little effort on their part so I doubt they will do away with it completly (but maybe have a flat rate come in or max rate e.g. at Fg Off).
Another thing is that the volunteers will judge the organisation on how it treats fellow organisations so if a volunteer or group are perceived to have been treated poorly (irrelevant if they have or not) then you are likely to get volunteers resigning basically resulting in a cascade failure similar to St Johns.
For better or for worse we have chosen to assist the organisations and accept all the hardships that they put us through and accept the illusions of chain of command. If you chose not to accept this then you are free to walk away and the organisation is powerless to stop you.
But good news you can no longer be given a lawful order (although “reasonable instruction” may apply) & any photos you take no longer belong to the organisation